As goes the consumer so goes the U.S. economy. And the news has been mostly good and includes a nearly 4-1/2 point jump in the consumer confidence index to a 101.1 level for August. Both the expectations and present situation components posted gains in the month though the latter does show a sizable and unwanted 1.3 percentage point increase in those describing jobs as hard to get. But signals on jobs are mixed with other readings positive including a gain for those who see more jobs opening up in the months ahead. Another positive is a widening in those who see their incomes improving which boils down to confidence in the jobs market. Buying plans include a jump for homes in what is the latest good news for the housing sector. Weakness in inflation expectations is a concern though the reading did tick up 1 tenth to a 4.8 percent level that for this report, however, is very low. But this report in sum is definitely a positive for the economic outlook and ultimately reflects the strength of the labor market. Another positive employment report on Friday would point to extended strength for all consumer readings.