The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in August, improved moderately in September. The index now stands at 103.0 (1985 = 100), up from 101.3 in August. The Present Situation Index increased from 115.8 in August to 121.1 in September, while the September Expectations Index edged down to 91.0 from 91.6 in August.

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was more positive in September. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased from 23.”% to 28.0%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” declined modestly from 17.8% to 16.7%. Consumers were somewhat mixed about the job market. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased from 22.1% to 25.1%; however, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also rose from 21.7% to 24.3%.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook was little changed in September. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 16.6% to 17.9%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen also increased, from 9.1% to 10.3%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. Those percentage of those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 15.0%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 14.5% to 15.8%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase improved from 16.2% to 19.1%, while the proportion expecting a decline inched up from 9.8% to 10.1%.

“Consumer confidence increased moderately in September, following August’s sharp rebound,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ more positive assessment of current conditions fueled this month’s increase and drove the Present Situation Index to an eight-year high (Sept. 2007, Index = 121.2)."

"Consumers’ expectations for the short-term outlook, however, remained relatively flat, although there was a modest improvement in income expectations. Thus, while consumers view current economic conditions more favorably, they do not foresee growth accelerating in the months ahead,” Franco said.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.

The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Sept. 17.