NEW YORK-With the tensions caused by economic issues somewhat lessened, the consumer confidence index reversed its January dropoff to pick up 11.2 points to finish at 69.6.
Both of the component indexes made significant gains in this month’s survey by The Conference Board, which compiles the indicator. The present situation index rose 7.1 points to 63.3, while the expectations index registered a 13.9-point increase to 73.8.
Lynn Franco, director economic indicators for The Conference Board, attributed the gains to the settling of the “shock effect” among consumers from the fiscal cliff uncertainty and the payroll tax increases. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor-market conditions is more positive than last month,” Franco said. “Looking ahead, consumers are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for business and labor-market conditions.”
The percentages of the surveyed consumers who rated business conditions and the job market as good in the current picture both rose in February. Consumers were also more optimistic about the down-the-road outlook in both business conditions and the labor market. More consumers also projected increase in incomes in the months ahead.