Consumer Confidence Index rebounds

Lynn Franco

A measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions, but doesn’t yet signal a return to spending levels before the coronavirus pandemic.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose 12.2 points to 98.1 in June. Components of the index based on current conditions and short-term expectations both increased.

“The reopening of the economy and relative improvement in unemployment claims helped improve consumers’ assessments of current conditions,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

“Looking ahead, consumers are less pessimistic about the short-term outlook, but do not foresee a significant pickup in economic activity. Faced with an uncertain and uneven path to recovery and a potential COVID-19 resurgence, it’s too soon to say that consumers have turned the corner and are ready to begin spending at pre-pandemic levels.”

The business membership and research group bases the index on the results of monthly household surveys.

More optimistic assessments of current conditions pushed the present situation component of the index up 17.8 points to 86.2.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the June index was based who called business conditions “good” rose a point to 17.4 percent. The share of those who said conditions are “bad” fell eight points to 43.2 percent.

The proportion of consumers who considered jobs “plentiful” rose 4.3 points to 20.8 percent. The share of those who called jobs “hard to get” fell 5.4 points to 23.8 percent.

A more upbeat outlook pushed up the expectations component of the index 8.4 points to 106.

The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months held steady at 42.6 percent. But the proportion of those anticipating worsening conditions fell 5.2 points to 15.3 percent.

The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months fell 1.1 points to 38.4 percent. But the proportion of those anticipating fewer jobs fell more — 5.7 points to 14.2 percent.