Consumer Confidence Up in February

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JCPNEW YORK (AP) - A private research group says that consumer confidence in February rose dramatically from last month to the highest level since a year ago when the U.S. economy's outlook started to look brighter before souring again.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 70.8, up from a revised 61.5 in January, helped by consumers' improving assessment of the job market. Analysts had expected a reading of 63. The February reading marks the highest level since February 2011 when it was 72.0.

The index, which is closely watched because consumer confidence makes up the majority of U.S. economic activity, is still far below the 90 that indicates a healthy economy. But it's closer to levels that indicate a steady economy than not. The index has risen slowly since hitting an all-time low of 25.3 in February of 2009. And in the past 12 months, it's jumped from the high 60s to the low 40s amid continued worries about the health of the U.S. economy.

"Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions that they were in January," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center in a statement. "Despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects and their financial situation."

One gauge of the Consumer Confidence Index, which measures how shoppers feel now about the economy, rose to 45.0 from 38.8. The other gauge, which measures shoppers' assessment over the next six months, jumped to 88.0 from 76.7 in January.

According to the survey of consumers, conducted from Feb. 1 through Feb. 15, shoppers are optimistic about the job market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 18.7 percent from 16.4 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 16.9 percent from 19.1 percent.


There are reasons for optimism. The government says 243,000 jobs were added in January, pushing down the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years. Unemployment has fallen five months in a row for the first time since 1994. Job figures for February are due out next week.

Even the housing market, though still weak, is showing signs of recovery. Home values remain depressed, according to the latest snapshot from a widely followed Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index. But more people signed contracts to buy homes in January than in nearly two years, according to seasonally adjusted figures from The National Association of Realtors.

But there also are reasons for caution. The European debt crisis threatens to hurt the U.S. economy. And rising gas prices could limit spending by middle- and lower-income shoppers. The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline rose 18 cents to $3.69 from two weeks earlier, according to the Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday.

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Pinot Man

ONE HAPPY THAT THEY ARE SPENDING MONEY, WHERE? 1 IN 4 AMERICANS ARE MAXED OUT ON THEIR CREDIT CARDS, COLLECTIONS FOR THE OVER HAPPY DUMBOCRATS FROM CHRISTMAS HAVE BEEN IN THE MAIL AND MOST OF THE OVER SPENDERS ARE RUNNING FROM COLLECTION DEPTS! UNEMPLOYMENT IS A REAL 20%, 8% IF YOUR A BIG DREAMER? THE FIRST SOLAR COMPANY OF ARIZONA HAS DELAYED THEIR SOLAR PLANT, COULD THIS MARK THE BEGENING OF THE END OF HIS HIGHNESS OBUMAS GREEN ENERGY DREAM?? ONLY $413 MILLION LO0SS ON THIS ONE, NOT BAD WHEN SOLYNDRA LOST $$$585+++MILLIONS, WONDER HOW MUCH OF THAT IS IN OFF SHORE BANKS AND UNDER WHOSE NAME?? CARE TO ANSWER THAT OBUMA???
ARE YOU SURE IT IS TECH PROBLEMS OR THAT YOU LOVE OBUMA?????

February 29 2012 at 5:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Pinot Man

WOW EVERY ONE HAPPY THAT THEY ARE SPENDING MONEY, WHERE? 1 IN 4 AMERICANS ARE MAXED OUT ON THEIR CREDIT CARDS, COLLECTIONS FOR THE OVER HAPPY DUMBOCRATS FROM CHRISTMAS HAVE BEEN IN THE MAIL AND MOST OF THE OVER SPENDERS ARE RUNNING FROM COLLECTION DEPTS! UNEMPLOYMENT IS A REAL 20%, 8% IF YOUR A BIG DREAMER? THE FIRST SOLAR COMPANY OF ARIZONA HAS DELAYED THEIR SOLAR PLANT, COULD THIS MARK THE BEGENING OF THE END OF HIS HIGHNESS OBUMAS GREEN ENERGY DREAM?? ONLY $413 MILLION LO0SS ON THIS ONE, NOT BAD WHEN SOLYNDRA LOST $$$585+++MILLIONS, WONDER HOW MUCH OF THAT IS IN OFF SHORE BANKS AND UNDER WHOSE NAME?? CARE TO ANSWER THAT OBUMA???
ARE YOU SURE IT IS TECH PROBLEMS OR THAT YOU LOVE OBUMA?????

February 29 2012 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pinot Man

WOW EVERY ONE HAPPY THAT THEY ARE SPENDING MONEY, WHERE? 1 IN 4 AMERICANS ARE MAXED OUT ON THEIR CREDIT CARDS, COLLECTIONS FOR THE OVER HAPPY DUMBOCRATS FROM CHRISTMAS HAVE BEEN IN THE MAIL AND MOST OF THE OVER SPENDERS ARE RUNNING FROM COLLECTION DEPTS! UNEMPLOYMENT IS A REAL 20%, 8% IF YOUR A BIG DREAMER? THE FIRST SOLAR COMPANY OF ARIZONA HAS DELAYED THEIR SOLAR PLANT, COULD THIS MARK THE BEGENING OF THE END OF HIS HIGHNESS OBUMAS GREEN ENERGY DREAM?? ONLY $413 MILLION LO0SS ON THIS ONE, NOT BAD WHEN SOLYNDRA LOST $$$585+++MILLIONS, WONDER HOW MUCH OF THAT IS IN OFF SHORE BANKS AND UNDER WHOSE NAME?? CARE TO ANSWER THAT OBUMA???

February 29 2012 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
davidl1950

Their only hope is that people continue to stay on Facebook and don't get a look at real news. I wish I could see a happy ending to our current economic problems, but with the current crew in Washington refusing to even address minor issues, how will they ever summon the guts to take on the big ones? That is...............before it is too late. Please tell me what scenario allows us to reign in out of control spending, skyrocketing energy prices, falling home values, a collapsing infrastructure, a corrupt and ineffective education system, and an entitlement mentality amongst so many Americans, and turn this mess around? I don't know who they survey for the consumer confidance index, but they must all be smoking dope and getting it free!

February 29 2012 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
davidl1950

Their only hope is that people continue to stay on Facebook and don't get a look at real news. I wish I could see a happy ending to our current economic problems, but with the current crew in Washington refusing to even address minor issues, how will they ever summon the guts to take on the big ones? That is...............before it is too late. Please tell me what scenario allows us to reign in out of control spending, skyrocketing energy prices, falling home values, a collapsing infrastructure, a corrupt and ineffective education system, and an entitlement mentality amongst so many Americans, and turn this mess around? I don't know who they survey for the consumer confidance index, but they must all be smoking dope and getting it free!

February 29 2012 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ckutsc33

AH COME ON--It was the Super bowl! Thats why. Unemployement-real-- is at 15% counting all the pulses. Not seasonally adjusting-haha-and taking out those who gave up or went on disability after there benefits ran out.

February 29 2012 at 1:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ckutsc33's comment
hemipwr54

No it is not [confidence up], consumers just got a few extra coins from the IRS in the form of income tax returns.
No one is any more confident, in fact less now that gas prices are on the rise again.

February 29 2012 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ckutsc33

AH COME ON--It was the Super bowl! Thats why. Unemployement-real-- is at 15% counting all the pulses. Not seasonally adjusting-haha-and taking out those who gave up or went on disability after there benefits ran out.

February 29 2012 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aworld520

They tell us what we want to here and not the real truth.

February 29 2012 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to aworld520's comment
bggdg

So when their was a constant barrage of government reports depicting declines in income, consumer spending, employment, GDP, etc."they weren't telling "the real truth" but just "what you wanted to hear"?

February 29 2012 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aworld520

They tell us what we want to here and not the real truth.

February 29 2012 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cpo1514

Associated Press... (aka ....Obama propagandist organization)... Huffy, of course consumer confidence is up.... the elections are closer to firing this incompetent Organizer....Americans will not be fooled again....

February 29 2012 at 10:54 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply