Consumer Confidence Index rebounds

Lynn Franco

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose 11.4 points to 135.7 in July, the highest level this year. The gain more than offset a drop in June attributed to concerns about trade and tariffs.

“Consumers are once again more optimistic about current and prospective business and labor conditions. In addition, their expectations regarding their financial outlook also improved,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.”These high levels of confidence should continue to support robust spending in the near term despite slower growth in GDP.”

The business research and membership association bases the index on the results of monthly household surveys. Economists monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.

For July, assessments of current conditions pushed the present situation component of the index up 6.6 points from June to 170.9.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the July index was based who described business conditions as “good” rose 2.6 points to 40.1 percent. The share of those who characterized conditions as “bad” increased six-tenths of a point to 11.2 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” rose 2.2 points to 46.2 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” declined three points to 12.8 percent.

The short-term outlook pushed the expectations component of the index up 14.6 points to 112.2.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose 4.9 points to 24 percent. The proportion of those expecting worsening conditions fell 3.9 points to 8.7 percent.

The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months rose three points to 20.5 percent. The proportion of those anticipating fewer jobs fell 2.4 points to 11.5 percent.

While 24.7 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase, up 4.2 points from June, 6.3 percent anticipate lower incomes. That’s down 1.2 points.