Consumer confidence declines

A monthly statistical snapshot of consumer confidence shows less upbeat assessments of not only current conditions, but also short-term expectations.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) dropped more than three points in June to 58.5, the lowest reading this year.
Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said a two-month decline in the index signals that consumers likely will remain cautious about spending. “Inflation fears eased considerably in June, but concerns about income prospects increased,” Franco said. “Given the combination of uneasiness about the economic outlook and future earnings, consumers are likely to continue weighing their spending decisions quite carefully.”
The business research and networking group bases the CCI on the results of monthly surveys conducted by the Nielsen Co. Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the country.
For June, consumer assessments of current business and labor conditions pushed the Present Situation Index component of the CCI down 1.7 points to 37.6.
The proportion of consumers responding to the June survey who characterized business conditions as “good” held steady at 14.3 percent,  while the share of those who  described conditions as “bad” increased eight-tenths to 38 percent.
The proportion of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” declined a half point to 5.2 percent, while the share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” edged up three-tenths to 43.8 percent.
Consumers’ short-term outlooks weakened in May and declined further in June, pulling down the Expectations Index component of the CCI more than four points to 72.4.
The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months fell eight-tenths to 16.4 percent. But the proportion of those who anticipate worsening conditions fell seven-tenths to 14.7 percent.
The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months fell 2.5 points to 14.2 percent, while the proportion of those who believe fewer jobs will be available remained unchanged at 20.3 percent.
The share of consumers who anticipate an increase in their incomes fell a point to 13.9 percent.