After erasing all of its 2012 gains in January, the Consumer Confidence Index rebounded sharply in February, according to a Conference Board report released today. After slumping 12% last month, the Index jumped 19% in February, beating analyst estimates by 14%.
"Consumer Confidence rebounded in February as the shock effect caused by the fiscal cliff uncertainty and payroll tax cuts appears to have abated," said Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco in a statement today. "Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions is more positive than last month. Looking ahead, consumers are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for business and labor market conditions. Income expectations, which had turned rather negative last month, have improved modestly."
Drawn from a random sample, consumers who believed business conditions to be "good" rose from 16.1% to 18.1%, while those believing conditions are "bad" fell 0.6 percentage points to 27.8%. Perceptions of the labor market remained mixed, with more consumers believing jobs are "plentiful" (up 2.0 percentage points to 10.5%) and more claiming jobs are "hard to get" (up 0.4 percentage points to 37%).
Looking ahead, the largest gains in confidence came from business condition outlooks for the next six months, with optimistic consumers (18.9%) outweighing pessimists (16.5%).