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Consumer confidence hits 101.1 in August, versus 97 estimate

Consumers hold shopping bags as they walk along Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
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Consumers hold shopping bags as they walk along Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

Consumers were feeling more optimistic in August, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The Consumer Confidence Index hit 101.1 in August, The Conference Board said. Economists expected consumer confidence to hit 97 in August, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

July's consumer confidence reading was revised to 96.7 from 97.3.

"Consumer confidence improved in August to its highest level in nearly a year, after a marginal decline in July," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the trade group, said in a statement.

The survey, a closely followed barometer of consumer attitudes, measures sentiment toward business conditions, short-term outlook, personal finances and jobs.

Thirty percent of respondents said business conditions were good in August, up from 27.3 percent in July, while 18.4 percent said conditions were bad, steady from the month before. More consumers also expect business conditions to improve: 17.3 percent predicted an improvement over the next six months, up from 15.7 percent the prior month, while only 11.1 percent expect conditions to worsen, down from 12.4 percent.

While a growing share of respondents expect their incomes to improve, the outlook on jobs was mixed. More respondents said jobs were plentiful, but those claiming jobs are "hard to get" also rose. Similarly, while the the proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose to 14.2 percent, up from from 13.5 percent, 17.5 percent of respondents still anticipate fewer jobs going forward.

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