Consumer Confidence Index rebounds

Lynn Franco
Lynn Franco

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions in the United States, but doesn’t signal faster growth.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose three-tenths of a point to 127.4 in July. A measure of current conditions jumped 4.2 points to 165.9. A measure of expectations dropped for a second straight month — 2.3 points to 101.7.

“Consumers’ assessment of present day conditions improved, suggesting that economic growth is still strong,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “However, while expectations continue to reflect optimism in the short-term economic outlook, back-to-back declines suggest consumers do not foresee growth accelerating.”

The Conference Board, a business research and membership association, bases the Consumer Confidence Index on the results of monthly household surveys. Economists monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the country.

For July, more optimistic assessments of business and labor conditions pushed up the present situation component of the index.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the index was based who described business conditions as “good” rose eight-tenths of a point to 38 percent. The share of those who characterized conditions as “bad” fell 1.4 points to 10.1 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs were “plentiful” rose 2.7 points to 43.1 percent, while the share of those who said jobs were “hard to get” remained unchanged at 15 percent.

The expectations component of the index retreated on a less upbeat outlook.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose 2.4 points to 23.1 percent. But the proportion of those anticipating worsening conditions also rose — 1.5 points to 10.8 percent.

The share of consumers who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months rose 2.5 points to 22.5 percent. But those predicting fewer job openings rose slightly more — 2.6 points to 15.7 percent.

Meanwhile, 20.8 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase, up 1.1 points from June. But 9.2 percent of consumers said they expect to earn less, up 1.3 points.