Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Rises in July

Consumer confidence managed to improve in July. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 121.1 from 117.3 in June. Bloomberg was calling for the index to dip to 117.0 in July. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was July 14.

A nutshell description of this report would be improving business conditions, improving jobs expectations and optimistic short-term outlook. One sour note was that consumers were not as upbeat about their income prospects as in June.

Is confidence high enough that it could force the Federal Reserve to sound more hawkish? The Present Situation Index increased from 143.9 to 147.8, and the Expectations Index rose from 99.6 last month to 103.3.

Here is a breakdown of some of the summary notes and individual readings:

  • Those saying business conditions are “good” increased from 30.6% to 33.3%.
  • Those saying business conditions are “bad” was virtually unchanged at 13.5%.
  • Those stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 32.0% to 34.1%.
  • Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 18.4% to 18.0%.
  • The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 20.1% to 22.9%.
  • Those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 10.0% to 8.2%.
  • The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead was unchanged at 19.2%.
  • Those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 14.6% to 13.3%.
  • The percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in their income declined moderately from 20.9% to 20.0%.
  • The proportion expecting a decline increased from 9.3%t to 10.0%.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said:

Consumer confidence increased in July following a marginal decline in June. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions remained at a 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3) and their expectations for the short-term outlook improved somewhat after cooling last month. Overall, consumers foresee the current economic expansion continuing well into the second half of this year.

Stocks have so far remained firm after strong earnings reports outweighed the mixed ones. The Dow was last seen up 113 points at 21,626 and the S&P 500 Index was up 9.39 at 2,479.31. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note also was last seen up six basis points at 2.31%.