Consumer Confidence Index rebounds

Dana Peterson

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded to its highest level in 17 months on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions. Concerns remain, however, about the prospect of recession.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose 5.2 points to 109.7 in June. That’s the highest level since January 2022.

Dana Peterson, chief economist at the New York-based think tank, said the latest reading reflects improved conditions as well as more optimistic expectations for the next six months. While a component of the index remains at a level associated with recession, fewer consumers expect one compared to a month ago.

Still, fewer consumers reported plans to purchase homes and automobiles on a six-month moving average, Peterson said. Vacation plans for the next six months continue to lag.

More upbeat assessment of current conditions pushed up the present situation component of the index 6.4 points from May to June to 155.3.

The proportion of consumers responding to the household surveys upon which the index is based who called business conditions “good” rose four points to 23.7 percent. The share of those who called conditions “bad” slipped four-tenths of a point to 16.3 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs were “plentiful” climbed 3.5 points to 46.8 percent. The share of those who said jobs were “hard to get” edged down two-tenths of a point to 12.4 percent.

An improving outlook pushed up the expectations component of the index 7.8 points to 79.3. With the exception of an uptick in December, the reading has remained below 80 since February 2022. That’s a level associated with the onset for a recession within a year.

The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose a point to 14.2 percent. The proportion of those anticipating worsening conditions fell 3.7 points to 17.7 percent.

The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available increased 1.7 points to 15.5 percent. The proportion of those forecasting fewer jobs decreased 5.1 points to 16 percent.

While 16.9 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase, down two points from May, 11.9 percent anticipate decreased incomes. That’s up a half point.

Asked to assess their current family financial situations, 28.5 percent of consumers called their situations “good.” That’s down seven-tenths of a point from May. The share of consumers who called their situations “bad” fell 1.3 points to 18.2 percent.