The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, after improving in January, dipped in February, the New York-based business research group reported on Feb. 22. The Index now stands at 104.0 (1985=100), down from 105.1 in January.
Despite the decrease, consumers' overall assessment of current conditions continues to improve. Those claiming business conditions are "good" eased to 24.9% from 26.1%, but those claiming conditions are "bad" declined to 15.6% from 18.1%. The employment picture also improved. Those saying jobs are "hard to get" fell to 22.6% from 24.3%, while those claiming jobs are "plentiful" was virtually unchanged at 20.9%.
"Although expectations cooled this month, consumers are more optimistic today than they were a year ago," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "Just as important, consumer confidence about current economic conditions, including the labor market, continues to gather momentum. Despite recent fluctuations, both present and future indicators point toward continued expansion in the months ahead." The consumer confidence survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.