Consumers foresee economic conditions and job prospects improving in the near future, but concerns remain for the present time, according to The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index for the US. It rose moderately this month and now stands at a reading of 89.3, up from 87.1 in December.

Present-day conditions weakened this month with Covid-19 as the main concern for consumers, said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

“Consumers’ expectations for the economy and jobs, however, advanced further, suggesting that consumers foresee conditions improving in the not-too-distant future,” Franco said. “In addition, the percent of consumers who said they intend to purchase a home in the next six months improved, suggesting that the pace of home sales should remain robust in early 2021.”

The index’s monthly survey found that 15.8% of consumers say business conditions are “good,” up from 15.4% in December’s survey. However, that was tempered by the increased percentage of consumers saying conditions are “bad”, going to 42.8% this month from 39.7% in December.

Also, fewer consumers said jobs were plentiful at the present time. And 23.8% said jobs are “hard to get,” compared to 22.9% in December.

Looking ahead, consumers are more optimistic.

The percentage of consumers saying business conditions will improve over the next six months rose to 33.7% this month from 29.5% in December. Meanwhile, those who believe conditions will worsen over the next six months fell to 18.1% from 22.0% in December.

Consumers were also more upbeat on jobs over the next six months. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose to 31.3% from 28.0% in December. On the flip side, those expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead fell to 21.4% from 22.2% in December.