Consumer Outlook Up More than Expected in August

Michael Probst

Americans' confidence in the economy has gotten a better-than-expected boost in August amid lower prices at the gas pump.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 56.9, up from a revised 51.9 in July. Analysts had expected a reading of 53. That marked the second month in a row that sentiment improved, after a six-month slide since January. However, the level still remains about half of what it was a year ago.

The Conference Board's Present Situation Index, which measures shoppers' current assessment of the economy, declined to 63.2 from 65.8 in July. But the Expectations Index, which measures their outlook over the next six months, increased to 52.8 from 42.7 in July.