Americans grew more confident about the economy and the job market, hitting a 17-year high as measured by the Confidence Index.
The Confidence index rose to 125.9 (estimated to be 121.5), the highest since Dec. 2000, from 120.6 in September, according to figures released on Oct. 31 by the Conference Board.
The present conditions measure increased to 151.1, the highest since 2001, from 146.9 and the consumer expectations gauge rose to 109.1, a seven-month high.
Jumps in the Conference Board’s measures of the present situation and expectations signal Americans are becoming more upbeat about the economy and employment as the labor market improves and stock prices climb to records.
Improvement in household confidence helps underpin their spending, the biggest part of the economy.
The results are consistent with other reports that showed economic activity and confidence are bouncing back, in part a sign that the hit from the recent hurricanes is dissipating. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index climbed in October to the strongest since the start of 2004, while the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is near the highest level of the expansion.
- 22.2% of consumers said they expect better business conditions in next six months, up from 20.9% in September
- Share of households who expect incomes to rise in next six months was little changed at 20.3%, down from 20.5% in September
- Share of those who said more jobs will be available in coming months was 18.9%, down from 19.2% in September
- Buying plans showed a greater share anticipate the purchase of cars in the next six months, while fewer expect to buy homes and major appliances
“Confidence remains high among consumers, and their expectations suggest the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of the year,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.
By Shobhana Chandra