The index run by the Conference Board measuring consumer confidence was up in February. Analysts polled wanted 63 but the index reportedly rose to 70.8. This increase comes after a loss to the index last month in January. This is a very bullish outlook on the US economy considering that the consumer makes up two-thirds of the GDP. Consumers are more upbeat on business operations this month than last. Generally, consumers are very optimistic about the short term, despite the increase in gas prices. However, job growth is beginning to take hold, housing is starting to make a turn and overall, people are better off financially.
In other indicators run by the Conference Board, consumers who said that business conditions were good rose only slightly in February to 13.3% from 13.2% prior. However, consumers that said business was bad decreased to 31.2% from 38.3%. Moving to employment, those who said jobs were in abundance increased to 6.6% from 6.2%. Conversely, those who said jobs are scarce decreased 38.7% from 43.3%.
These are great numbers that we are getting from consumers. People are starting to get more optimistic about the US economy finally getting stronger again. If you look at the economic indicators so far this year, there are a lot of good signs that the US may strengthen greatly in 2012. First off, we have the best January in 15 years. That in its own is a very good way to start off the year. Next we see throughout this year so far that housing is beginning to show signs of recovery. People are beginning to buy houses again instead of renting. Yesterday, I wrote about how consumers paid off debt at the end of last year. The list goes on and on but the main thing to take away is that this year is going to be a great year for the recovery in the US.
Unfortunately, Europe is not doing as great right now. In fact, there is speculation that they could be dipping back into a recession at some point this year. Europe aside, the world economy is much stronger than it was only a few months ago. I think 2012 is going to be bringing in more jobs, better housing outlook and a healthy stock market. Look for these economic indicators to continue showing us further that the US and the rest of the world is on the path to recovery.