June Consumer Confidence Plunges to 21-Month Low

The Conference Board reported Tuesday morning that its consumer confidence index for the month of June dipped from a reading of 131.3 in May to 121.5. The May reading was revised downward from a reported 134.1 a month ago.

The expectations index dropped from 105.0 to 94.1, and the present situation index slid from 170.7 to 162.6. The consensus estimate for November called for a decline to an overall index reading of 132.0.

The assessment of present-day conditions declined in June. The percentage of consumers who said business conditions are “good” dropped from 38.4% to 36.7%. Surprisingly, perhaps, those claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased, from 11.7% to 10.9%.

Consumers’ assessment of the June labor market faded as well. The proportion stating jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 45.3% to 44%, and those claiming jobs are “hard to get” jumped from 11.8% to 16.4%.

Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said:

After two consecutive months of improvement, Consumer Confidence declined in June to its lowest level since September 2017 (Index, 120.6). The decrease in the Present Situation Index was driven by a less favorable assessment of business and labor market conditions. Consumers’ expectations regarding the short-term outlook also retreated. The escalation in trade and tariff tensions earlier this month appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence. Although the Index remains at a high level, continued uncertainty could result in further volatility in the Index and, at some point, could even begin to diminish consumers’ confidence in the expansion.

On the jobs front, expectations for new jobs decreased from 18.4% to 17.3% in June and the number of respondents who expect fewer jobs also increased from 13% to 14.8%. Regarding their own income prospects, 19.1% expect an improvement in the short term, down from 22.2% in May. The proportion expecting a decrease in income inched higher, from 7.8% to 8%.

Optimism about the short-term outlook slipped in June. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 21.4% to 18.1%; those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 8.8% to 13.1%.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a probability-design random sample and is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The index baseline is 1985=100.

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