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Economy in Brief

Consumer Confidence Up in August
by Tom Moeller August 26, 2008

The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence rose a surprising 9.6% this month after a moderate 1.8% July gain. The rise contrasted with Consensus expectations for just a modest increase.

The increase was fueled by a 23.7% jump in the expectations component of the index which followed a moderate 3.1% July gain.

The percentage of respondents expecting business conditions to worsen in six months dropped sharply and the percentage expecting fewer jobs also fell to the lowest level since March. An improved 31.6% of respondents planned to buy a major appliance within six months.

In contrast, the present conditions index fell slightly m/m to the lowest level since late 2003.

A slightly improved, but still negligible, 13.4% of respondents saw business conditions as good and that was near the lowest since early-2003. Jobs as plentiful were seen by a new low, since 2003, of 13.1% while 32.0% felt that jobs were hard to get. That was the highest since 2003.

Expectations for the inflation rate in twelve months fell again, last month to 6.7%.

Papers from last week's Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole Wyoming are available here.

Conference Board  (SA, 1985=100) August July Y/Y % 2007 2006 2005
Consumer Confidence Index 56.9 51.9 -46.1 103.4 105.9 100.3
  Present Situation 63.2 65.8 -51.4 128.8 130.2 116.1
  Expectations 52.8 42.7 -40.8 86.4 89.7 89.7
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