Consumer confidence lags on less upbeat outlook

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has retreated on less upbeat expectations economic growth will continue to accelerate in the United States.

The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index declined 2.4 points to 126.4 in June. A measure of current conditions edged down a tenth to 161.1. A measure of expectations fell four points to 103.2.

“Consumers’ assessment of present day conditions was relatively unchanged, suggesting that the level of economic growth remains strong,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board. “While expectations remain high by historical standards, the modest curtailment in optimism suggests that consumers do not foresee the economy gaining much momentum in the months ahead.”

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

For June, less optimistic assessments of current business and labor conditions pushed down the present situation component of the index.

For June, the proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the index was based who described business conditions as “good” decreased 2.6 points to 36 percent. But the share of those who characterized business conditions as “bad” also decreased  — nine-tenths of a point to 11.7 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs were “plentiful” fell 2.1 points to 40 percent. The share of those who called jobs “hard” also fell — seven-tenths of a point to 14.9 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 fell 1.9 points to 21.4 percent. The proportion of those who said they expect worsening conditions rose two points to 9.8 percent.

Still, the share of consumers who said they expect more jobs to become available in coming months edged up three-tenths of a point to 20 percent. Moreover, the proportion of those anticipating fewer job openings decreased a half point to 12.6 percent.

Meanwhile, 18.8 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to increase, down 2.6 points, and 8.7 percent said they expect to earn less, up seven-tenths of a point.