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Consumer Confidence Increases in February
Feb 29, 2012
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The Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board, was up in February 2012. The February index is 70.8 (1985=100), up from January's 61.5.

Components of the index include:
* The Present Situation Index, at 45.0 in February 2012, up from 38.8 in January
* The Expectations Index, at 88.0 in February, up from 76.7 in January.

"Consumer Confidence, which had declined last month, posted a sizeable improvement in February. The Index is now close to levels last seen a year ago (Feb. 2011, 72.0.)," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions than they were in January. And, despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects, and their financial situation. "

The report indicated consumers' assessment of current conditions was more favorable in February 2012:

* 13.3% characterized business conditions are "good" (up from 13.2% in January)
* 31.2% claimed business conditions are "bad" (down from 38.3% in January)

Consumers were also less pessimistic regarding the labor market:
* 6.6% said jobs are "plentiful" (up from 6.2% in January)
* 38.7% said jobs are "hard to get" (down from 43.3%)

Consumers displayed more optimism about the short-term outlook:
* 18.7% said they expect business conditions to improve in the next six months (up from 16.7%)
* 11.8% expect business conditions to get worse (down from 14.6%)

The labor market outlook was also better:
* 18.7% expect more jobs in the months ahead (up from 16.4% in January)
* 16.9% expect fewer jobs (down from 19.1%)

In the February report 15.4% of consumers said they are expecting an income increase, up from 13.8% in the January report.

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