U.S. consumers indicated in August that they are more optimistic about the state of the economy, according to the The Conference Board's monthly report.
The August index reading is the highest since October 2007, just before the recession began and a year before the financial crash of 2008.
"Consumer confidence increased for the fourth consecutive month as improving business conditions and robust job growth helped boost consumers' spirits," said Lynn Franco, The Conference Board's director of economic indicators.
The board's index of consumer confidence increased to 92.4 in August from 90.3 in July. The present situation index, which gauges consumers' beliefs about economic conditions, rose to 94.6 from a revised 87.9 in July.
Consumer expectations for economic activity over the next six months fell to 90.9 after that index jumped to a revised 91.9 in July from 86.4 in June. The July expectations index was first reported as 92.7. Franco believes the decline in expectations mainly concerns fears about future earnings.
Respondents expecting more jobs in the future dropped to 17.0% in August versus 18.7% saying that a month ago, while the share anticipating fewer jobs also slipped, to 15.8% from 16.6%.
The survey also shows only 15.5% expect their incomes to rise in the next six months compared with 17.7% stating that in July. The share believing their incomes will decline in the next six months climbed to 11.9% from 11.1% in July.
Those doubts from consumers support Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellens ongoing concern: That theres little wage growth happening and it's hindering a full economic recovery.
Wages barely have kept pace with inflation over the past five years. Real wages have grown a slight 0.5% since 2009, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That's the weakest growth since World War II. After past recessions, wage increases have averaged 9.2% during similar periods of recovery.
Still, The Conference Board's study indicates that consumers are more hopeful about the labor markets. In August, 18.2% of consumers said they believed that jobs were "plentiful," up from 15.6% in July and the best reading since early 2008. Meanwhile, 30.6% believe jobs are "hard to get," down from 30.9% last month.