Although still well below last year's levels, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index improved in August to 56.9 (1985 = 100). The Expectations Index increased to 52.8 from 42.7 in July.
Said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: "Consumer confidence readings suggest that the economy remains stuck in neutral, but may be showing signs of improvement by early next year. Declines in the Present Situation Index, both in terms of business conditions and the labor market, appear to be moderating. The Expectations Index, which posted a significant gain this month, suggests better times may be ahead. However, overall readings are still quite low by historical standards and it is still too early to tell if the worst is behind us."