Rising consumer confidence in the US is confirming my bullish outlook for the economy and stocks. Tuesday's release of the August Consumer Confidence index was especially upbeat. It is based on a survey conducted monthly by the Conference Board. I think it is more sensitive to labor market conditions than the survey conducted by the University of Michigan to derive their Consumer Sentiment index. Here are some of the key highlights that impressed me the most:
(1) The CCI jumped 2.1 points to 92.4 in August. That's the highest reading since October 2007. The gain was led by the CCI's present situation component. Also leading the way higher was the CCI for consumers who are 55 or older. They tend to have more income and wealth, and to spend more when they are optimistic.
(2) The Conference Board reported that the “jobs plentiful” response rate jumped to 18.2% during August from 15.6% during July, the highest since March 2008. The CCI is highly correlated with the quits rate. The latter rose in June to the highest reading since July 2008. August's CCI suggests that it continued to rise during July and August. As Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen has noted, when workers perceive that jobs are plentiful, they are more likely to seek another job and quit their current one.
(3) I average the CCI and CSI to derive our Consumer Optimism index. It was little changed at 85.8 in August from July's 86.1, which was the best level since October 2007. The present situation index jumped to 97.1, the highest since January 2008. The expectations component remains in its flattish and choppy range of the past couple of years.
Source: Ed Yardeni — Ed Yardeni is the president and chief investment strategist of Yardeni Research Inc., a provider of independent investment strategy and economics research for institutional investors.