Consumer confidence rebounds in February

NEW YORK — Consumer confidence rebounded in February, reversing three straight months of declines, according to The Conference Board, a private research group. The Conference Board’s closely-watched Consumer Confidence Index stands at 69.6, up from 58.4 in January. Economists had expected 60.5, according to research firm FactSet.

It was the highest reading since November’s 71.5 metric.  

"Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions is more positive than last month,” said the group’s director of economic indicators, Lynn Franco. “Looking ahead, consumers are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for business and labor 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% from 16.1%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” decreased to 27.8% from 28.4%. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was mixed. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.5% from 8.5%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged up to 37.0% from 36.6%.

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% from 15.6%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined to 16.5% from 20.4%.