Consumer Confidence Index falls nearly seven points in July

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which was virtually unchanged in June, declined in July. The Index now stands at 76.6 (1985=100), down from 83.5 in June. The Expectations Index fell to 86.4 from 96.4. The Present Situation Index declined to 61.9 from 64.2.

“The rising level of unemployment and sentiment that a turnaround in labor market conditions is not around the corner have contributed to deflating consumers’ spirits this month,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “Expectations are likely to remain weak until the job market becomes more favorable.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was less favorable than last month. Those rating present business conditions as “bad” increased to 30.4% from 28.1%. However, those holding the opposite view increased to 16.3% from 14.9%. Consumers claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose to 33.1% from 31.9%, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined to 10.5% from 11.2%.

Consumers’ expectations for the next six months were less optimistic than last month. Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions fell to 20.2% from 23.5%. Consumers anticipating conditions to worsen rose to 11.5% from 9.2%.

The employment outlook was also less favorable. Consumers anticipating more jobs to become available over the next six months declined to 16.8% from 18.9%, while those expecting fewer jobs increased to 19.8% from 16.9%. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes declined to 15.7% from 17.1%.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by NFO WorldGroup. The cutoff date for July’s preliminary results was July 22.