By Xavier Fontdegloria

 

Consumer confidence in the U.S. rose in February for the second consecutive month as Americans grew more upbeat on current business and labor market conditions amid falling Covid-19 infections, data from The Conference Board showed Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index increased to 91.3 in February from a downwardly revised 88.9 in January. The reading roughly matches economists forecasts, who polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the indicator to come in at 91.0.

February posts the second straight rise in consumer confidence, although the indicator has yet to meaningfully improve since its April plunge and remains more restrained than the consumer spending data suggest.

One year ago, before the pandemic hit the country, consumer confidence stood at 132.6.

The rise in confidence was driven by an improvement of the present situation index, which reflects consumers assessment of current business and labor market conditions. The index climbed to 92.0 from 85.5 the previous month following three months of consecutive declines.

"This course reversal suggests economic growth has not slowed further," said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

The expectations index, which gauges short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, fell marginally to 90.8 in February from 91.2 in January.

Despite the fall, consumers remain cautiously optimistic, on the whole, about the outlook for the coming months, Ms. Franco said.

"Notably, vacation intentions--particularly, plans to travel outside the U.S. and via air--saw an uptick this month, and are poised to improve further as vaccination efforts expand," she said.

 

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 23, 2021 10:33 ET (15:33 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.