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Consumer confidence surged to 69.6 in February, up from 58.4 in January.This was much higher than the 62.0 forecasted by economists.

“Consumer Confidence rebounded in February as the shock effect caused by the fiscal cliff uncertainty and payroll tax cuts appears to have abated,” said Lynn Franco of the Conference Board.

From the Conference Board:

New York, February 26, 2013…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined in January, rebounded in February. The Index now stands at 69.6 (1985=100), up from 58.4 in January. The Present Situation Index increased to 63.3 from 56.2. The Expectations Index improved to 73.8 from 59.9 last month.     

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was February 14.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer Confidence rebounded in February as the shock effect caused by the fiscal cliff uncertainty and payroll tax cuts appears to have abated. Consumers’ assessment of current business and labour market conditions is more positive than last month. Looking ahead, consumers are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for business and labour market conditions. Income expectations, which had turned rather negative last month, have improved modestly.”  

Consumers’ assessment of present day conditions improved in February. Those claiming business conditions are “good” rose to 18.1 per cent from 16.1 per cent, while those stating business conditions are “bad” decreased to 27.8 per cent from 28.4 per cent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labour market was mixed. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.5 per cent from 8.5 per cent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged up to 37.0 per cent from 36.6 per cent.

Consumers were more optimistic about the short-term outlook this month. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 18.9 per cent from 15.6 per cent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined to 16.5 per cent from 20.4 per cent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labour market was more positive. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead improved to 16.7 per cent from 14.4 per cent, while those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 21.5 per cent from 26.7 per cent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase rose to 15.7 per cent from 13.5 per cent, while those anticipating a decrease fell to 19.6 per cent from 23.3 per cent. 

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