Report: Consumer Confidence Rises to a Near 18-Year High

Walmart employee rings up a customers purchase / Getty

Consumer confidence in the United States rose in August to the highest level in almost 20 years, according to new data from the Conference Board.

The Conference Board consumer confidence index reached 133.4, the highest mark since late 2000, the Hill reports.

Optimism about the economy also increased.

"Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. Franco added that high confidence in the economy should fuel continued consumer spending in the short-term.

A strong job market and rising incomes are among the factors feeding consumer confidence.

"Going into August, all signs were green for continued increases in consumer sentiment and consumer confidence," said David Deull, principal economist at IHS Markit. "So that’s what we’re seeing in the headline number here."

Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors, observed that the data suggests consumers are not overly concerned about trade or inflation hurting the economy. "Should either of those evolve into a larger problem, consumers may be caught by surprise."

"For now," Baird added, "consumers remain resiliently positive, which bodes well for household spending in the coming months."

Data from the Conference Board also showed an increased share of Americans plan to make big purchases such as cars and homes in the next six months.

The data from the business research nonprofit conflicts with figures from the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, which fell this month to the lowest level in almost a year and showed greater concern for the impact of trade tensions and inflation on the economy.