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Consumer confidence hits 18-year high, bolstered by strong jobs growth

October 30, 2018

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index increased again in October following a modest improvement in September. The index rose to a reading of 137.9 (1985=100), up from 135.3 in September. The index remains at levels last seen in September 2000, when it was 142.5.

“Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions remains quite positive, primarily due to strong employment growth,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The Expectations Index posted another gain in October, suggesting that consumers do not foresee the economy losing steam anytime soon. Rather, they expect the strong pace of growth to carry over into early 2019.”

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more favorable; the number of consumers stating that jobs were “plentiful” rose to 45.9% in October from 44.1% in September, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” fell to 13.2% from 14.1%. Bloomberg reported the labor differential, which measures the gap between respondents saying jobs are plentiful and those who say they’re hard to get, jumped to 32.7 percentage points, the widest since January 2001.

However, consumers’ outlook for the labor market was somewhat mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell to 21.9% in October from 22.1% in September, while those anticipating fewer jobs also fell to 10.5% from 11.4%.

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