Consumer confidence rises for the second straight month

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased for the second consecutive month. The Index now stands at 117.9 (1985=100), up from 116.1 in May.

“Consumers are currently more optimistic than they have been all year regarding business and job prospects over the next six months,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “While their assessment of current conditions weakened, the Present Situation Index remains at historically high levels. There is little reason to believe consumers will drastically halt their spending habits, and also little reason to expect consumers to go on shopping binges. The economy should continue to expand at its current slow rate.”

Consumers’ assessment of ongoing conditions was less positive than in May. Consumers rating current business conditions as “good” declined from 30.7% to 28.7%. Consumers rating conditions as “bad” rose from 11.5% to 13.0%. Those claiming jobs were “hard to get” increased slightly from 14.3% to 14.4%. Consumers who said jobs were plentiful decreased from 39.3% to 38.0%.

Consumers’ short-term outlook was more optimistic in June. The percent of consumers expecting an improvement in business conditions increased from 16.8% to 17.1 %. Those anticipating conditions to worsen declined from 13.5% to 11.1%.

The employment outlook was also more upbeat. Now, 15.6% of consumers expect more jobs to become available, up from 14.1% last month. Those expecting fewer jobs to become available declined from 19.9% to 18.0%. Income expectations were less buoyant. Currently, 23.7 % of consumers anticipate a gain, down from 24.9% in May.

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, a member of The Interpublic Group of Companies.