WASHINGTON—A gauge of U.S. consumer confidence rose to the highest level in nearly a year in August, suggesting that household spending will remain a key support for the economy.
The Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index climbed to 101.1 in August from 96.7 in July, the group said Tuesday. That was the highest reading since September 2015.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an August reading of 97.0.
“Consumers’ assessment of both current business and labor market conditions was considerably more favorable than last month,” said Lynn Franco, the group’s director of economic indicators.
The survey’s present-situation index increased to 123.0 from 118.8, while the expectations index improved to 86.4 from 82.0.
“Short-term expectations regarding business and employment conditions, as well as personal income prospects, also improved, suggesting the possibility of a moderate pickup in growth in the coming months,” said Lynn Franco, the group’s director of economic indicators.
American households have consistently been the biggest driver of economic growth in the U.S. During the second quarter of the year, consumer expenditures advanced at the fastest rate since late 2014, offsetting weaker business and government spending.
Consumer spending rose for the fourth straight month in July, the Commerce Department said Monday, a sign of continuing momentum in the third quarter of the year.
Separate measures of consumer sentiment haven’t been as upbeat. The University of Michigan said Friday its measure of confidence fell in August to its lowest level since April as younger households reported less favorable personal financial prospects.