Consumer Confidence Comes Over the Top in July

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The Conference Board has released its July reading of consumer confidence, showing a gain after a modest decline in June. Consumer confidence rose slightly to 127.4 in July from 127.1 in June. This was more or less in line with the Bloomberg consensus estimate calling for 127.0. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was July 19.

The Present Situation Index increased from 161.7 last month to 165.9, while the Expectations Index declined to 101.7 this month from 104.0.

Overall, consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved for the month of July. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 37.2% to 38.0%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 11.5% to 10.1%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was more favorable. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” improved from 40.4 to 43.1, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” was unchanged at 15.0%.

Consumer optimism waned again for the short-term outlook in July. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 20.7 to 23.1, while those expecting business conditions will worsen also increased, from 9.3% to 10.8%.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, commented:

Consumer confidence gained marginal ground in July, after a modest decline in June. Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved, suggesting that economic growth is still strong. However, while expectations continue to reflect optimism in the short-term economic outlook, back-to-back declines suggest consumers do not foresee growth accelerating.