Consumer confidence is at its highest level in nearly a year

Consumer confidence is at its highest level in nearly a year

The US retail environment has been a somewhat mixed picture of late but now seems to have regained its equilibrium, with consumer confidence improving in August to its highest level in nearly a year, new figures show.

The consumer confidence index, which had decreased slightly in July to 96.7, rose to 101.1 in August, according to The Conference Board.

"Consumer confidence improved in August to its highest level in nearly a year, after a marginal decline in July," says Lynn Franco, the Board's director of economic indicators. "Consumers' assessment of both current business and labour market conditions was considerably more favourable than last month. Short-term expectations regarding business and employment conditions, as well as personal income prospects, also improved, suggesting the possibility of a moderate pick-up in growth in the coming months."

According to The Conference Board, consumers' appraisal of current conditions improved in August. The percentage stating business conditions are "good" improved from 27.3% to 30%, while those saying business conditions are "bad" remained virtually unchanged at 18.4%.

Consumers' optimism regarding the short-term outlook also picked up in the month. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 15.7% to 17.3%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen fell from 12.4% to 11.1%.

Meanwhile, the percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase improved from 17.1% to 18.8%, while the proportion expecting a decline decreased marginally from 11.0% to 10.7%.