Consumer confidence is up for the third straight month, notching a 9.6% gain for June, according to The Conference Board's June Consumer Confidence report released today.
After hitting a five-year high last month, this latest 81.4 index reading (once again) puts consumer confidence at its highest level since January 2008. Analysts were taken by surprise, having expected a slight dip from May's unrevised numbers to 75. Despite June's jubilee, confidence still remains well below the index's 1985 100-point benchmark.
"Consumers are considerably more positive about current business and labor market conditions than they were at the beginning of the year," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement today. "Expectations have also improved considerably over the past several months, suggesting that the pace of growth is unlikely to slow in the short-term, and may even moderately pick up."
The index is comprised of responses from a random sample of consumers and, in this latest report, optimism showed some gains. Most notably, consumers claiming jobs are "plentiful" pushed up 1.8 percentage points to 11.7%, although those citing jobs as "hard to get" also increased 0.5 points to 36.9%.
Looking ahead, 20.3% of those surveyed expected business conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to just 11.4% anticipating tougher times. Optimists managed to outweigh pessimists for labor market conditions, as well. A 3.3-percentage-point increase put those expecting more jobs at 19.6%, while respondents predicting fewer jobs fell 3.9 points to 16.1%.
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