U.S. consumer confidence increased in September to its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 101.8 in September compared with 86.3 in August, higher than the 89.6 economists had expected.
The 16-point jump was the largest one-month increase in the index in 17 years.
It was also the highest level the index has reached since the start of the pandemic. The index hit a six-year low of 85.7 in April as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered stores and parts of the country went into lockdown.
“A more favorable view of current business and labor market conditions, coupled with renewed optimism about the short-term outlook, helped spur this month’s rebound in confidence,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, in a press release announcing the results.
Economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, have stressed that economic recovery is dependent on how well the U.S. handles the virus.
While consumer confidence did rise after back-to-back monthly declines, Franco noted it still remains below pre-pandemic levels.
For comparison, the index was at 132.6 in February before the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic hit.