Consumer confidence and business buying both are on the upswing, indicating a resurgence in the economy may be under way, two national surveys disclosed yesterday.
Consumers' expectations are higher than they've been for a year and a half based on the monthly poll taken for The Conference Board, a non-profit business organization.
Manufacturing companies also see some signs of improvement in business, the National Association of Purchasing Management reported. Last month, more companies said new orders were increasing than reported orders were down.
But both monthly measurements including some negative signs. The purchasing agents said prices for raw materials increased last month, after four months of declines. And despite their more optimistic view of the economy, consumers have curtailed their buying plans, the Conference Board found.
The Conference Board surveys 5,000 households every month and produces a monthly index symbolizing their assessment of consumer confidence. That index climbed th 65.8 in August, up from 59.4 in July, and has increased by 24 points in the past three months.
A similar index of consumer buying plans fell during August, from 90.2 to 84.2.
The survey of corporate buyers found a more optimistic view of business trends than a special study taken in May. About the same number -- 39 or 40 percent -- expect business will be worse in the third quarter of the year than it was in the second. But 28 percent of the companies surveyed said they expect third quarter business will be better, a dramatic change from the May survey.