Consumer Confidence Index dips in July

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in June, dipped in July. The Index now stands at 103.2 (1985=100), down from 106.2 in June. The Present Situation Index decreased to 118.5 from 120.8. The Expectations Index declined to 93.0 from 96.4 last month.

“This month’s decline in Consumer Confidence is no cause for concern,” says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “The overall state of the economy remains healthy and consumers’ outlook suggests no storm clouds on the short-term horizon. Even the steady upward tick of fuel prices at the pump has done relatively little to dampen consumers’ spirits. Yet, while there is little to suggest a downturn in activity, there is also little to suggest a pickup.”

The outlook for the labor market was mixed. Consumers expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months edged up to 15.8 percent from 15.4 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs also edged up to 16.8 percent from 16.4 percent in June. The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes will increase in the months ahead declined to 18.6 percent from 19.9 percent last month.

Consumers’ overall assessment of ongoing conditions was somewhat mixed in July. Those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased to 16.9 percent from 15.3 percent. However, those claiming conditions are “good” improved to 28.7 percent from 26.7 percent. The employment picture was also mixed. Consumers saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 23.8 percent from 22.5 percent, but those claiming jobs are “plentiful” held steady at 22.5 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the next six months was marginally less favorable than in June. Those anticipating business conditions to improve declined to 17.6 percent from 19.5 percent. Consumers expecting business conditions to worsen edged up to 9.6 percent from 9 percent.

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 TNS NFO. The cutoff date for July’s preliminary results was July 19th.