The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which was virtually unchanged last month, increased sharply in June. The index now stands at 101.9 (1985=100), up from 93.1 in May. The present situation index is now 104.8, up from 90.5 in May. The expectations index rose to 100 from 94.8.

“The strong improvement in current conditions has propelled consumer confidence to levels not seen since June 2002,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “Looking ahead, consumers expect the economy to continue to grow at a healthy clip and to continue to generate additional jobs. And, with prices at the pump beginning to ease, the short-term outlook remains favorable.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved considerably in June. Those saying business conditions are “good” rose to 25.6 percent, up from 22.2 percent. Those claiming conditions have worsened fell to 17.5 percent from 21.6 percent. Consumers claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 26.5 percent from 30.3 percent. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” rose to 18 percent from 16.6 percent.

Consumers are more optimistic about the short-term future. Those expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months rose to 23.4 percent from 22.8 percent. Consumers expecting conditions to worsen declined to 9.2 percent from 10.1 percent.

The employment outlook remains upbeat. Those anticipating more jobs to become available increased to 19.7 percent from 18.7 percent. Those expecting fewer jobs edged down to 17.1 percent from 17.3 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes rose to 19.3 percent, up from 17.1 percent last month.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households, and is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS NFO.

***

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