Consumer Confidence Edges Up

       

       

NEW YORK—After two straight months of declines, the consumer confidence index did a small reversal in August.

The index, as provided by The Conference Board, picked up 2.5 points to finish last month at 53.5. Lynn Franco, director of the board’s Consumer Research Center, attributed the gain to “an improvement in consumers’ short-term outlook. Expectations about future business and labor-market conditions have brightened somewhat, but overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future.”

Underscoring Franco’s assessment, the expectations index, one of the main number’s two components, rose five points to 72.5. The present-situation index, meanwhile, lost 1.5 points to 24.9.

In addition, the percentages of consumers who projected better business and employment conditions in the next six months rose moderately in the August survey. The percentages of consumers who had rosy ratings of current business and employment conditions declined, however.