|Consumer confidence increases in February|
|Written by Eric Tiansay|
|Friday, 01 March 2013 12:00 AM EST|
Consumer confidence rebounded in February, reversing three straight months of declines, according to the Conference Board.
The private research group said its index of consumer confidence rose to 69.6 last month from a 58.4 in January. Economists had expected 60.5, according to research firm FactSet. The February figure was the highest reading since November's 71.5 metric. A reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; above 100 signals strong growth.
"Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions is more positive than last month," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators and surveys of the New York-based Conference Board. "Looking ahead, consumers are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for business and labor market conditions. Income expectations, which had turned rather negative [in January], have improved modestly."
Consumers' view of present-day conditions improved in February. Those claiming business conditions are "good" rose to 18.1% from 16.1% in January, while those stating business conditions are "bad" decreased to 27.8% from 28.4% in January. Consumers' assessment of the labor market was mixed. Those saying jobs are "plentiful" rose to 10.5% from 8.5% in January, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" edged up to 37% from 36.6% in January.
In the short-term, consumers were more optimistic. Those anticipating business conditions to improve during the next six months climbed to 18.9% from 15.6% in January, while those foreseeing business conditions to worsen dropped to 16.5% from 20.4% in January.