Consumer Confidence Index Retreats

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had bounced back in May, reversed course in June. The Index now stands at 103.9 (1985=100), down from 108.5 in May. The Present Situation Index decreased to 127.9 from 136.1 in May. The Expectations Index edged down to 87.9 from 90.1.

“A perceived softening in present-day business and employment conditions are the major reasons behind this month’s pull-back in confidence,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “In fact, the Present Situation Index now stands at levels not seen since the final quarter of last year. Looking ahead, consumers remain rather subdued about short-term economic prospects. All in all, the glass remains half empty and half full.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions was less upbeat in June. Those claiming conditions are “good” declined to 27.4 percent from 29 percent. Those saying conditions are “bad” increased to 16.4 percent from 14.6 percent. Consumers were also less positive about the job market. Those saying jobs are “hard to get” inched up to 21.1 percent from 19.7 percent. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” fell to 27 percent from 29.1 percent in May.

Consumers remain guarded about short-term prospects. Those anticipating business conditions to improve in the next six months rose slightly to 16.1 percent from 15.3 percent. Those expecting business conditions to worsen, however, edged up to 11 percent from 10.2 percent.

Once again, the outlook for the labor market was mixed. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged up to 14 percent from 13.6, while those anticipating fewer jobs also increased to 17 percent from 15.6 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase in the months ahead was relatively unchanged at 18.7 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. The cutoff date for June’s preliminary results was June 19.