Consumer confidence increases in July

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in June, improved slightly in July, and now stands at 65.9 (1985=100), up from 62.7 in June. The Expectations Index improved to 79.1 from 73.4, while the Present Situation Index decreased slightly to 46.2 from 46.6 a month ago.

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions eased in July with those claiming business conditions are “good” declining to 13.8 percent from 14.2 percent, and those saying business conditions are “bad” decreasing to 34.2 percent from 35.9 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also was mixed. Those stating jobs are “hard to get” declined to 40.8 percent from 41.2 percent, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 7.8 percent from 8.3 percent.

On the other hand, consumers were generally more optimistic about the short-term outlook in July. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months rose to 18.9 percent from 16 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen decreased to 14.6 percent from 15.8 percent. Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more upbeat in July. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 17.6 percent from 14.8 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged down to 20.3 percent from 20.8 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes, however, declined to 14.2 percent from 15.3 percent.