Lower gas prices helped consumer confidence bounce back in August, breaking a three-month stretch of worsening sentiment. However this improvement, while welcome, is tempered by ongoing worries that the US economy may be heading toward a recession.
The Conference Board’s monthly snapshot of consumer attitudes improved, rising to 103.2 from July’s downwardly revised 95.3. The August number matches the level it reached in May and marks the first time since then that the headline index broke 100, the historical baseline metric.
“In the first half of the year, there were shocks to consumers from gas prices, the stock market and mortgage rates,” said Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank. “Consumers look very reassured that the direction has stopped getting worse.”