Consumer Confidence Holds Steady, Still Low

After declining in June, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index held fairly steady in July, rising from 51 to 51.9. The Conference Board’s Present Situation Index was 65.3 versus 65.4 last month. The Expectations Index was up slightly, from 41.4 in June to 43 in July.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was little changed, suggesting there has been no significant improvement, nor significant deterioration, in business or labor market conditions,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. “Looking ahead, while consumers remain extremely grim about short-term prospects, the modest improvement in expectations, often a harbinger of economic times to come, bears careful watching over the next few months.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions remained gloomy in July. Those who believe business conditions are “bad” increased slightly, to 32.8 percent from 31.9 percent. Those who think business conditions are “good” rose to 13.1 percent from 11.5 percent last month. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market remained negative. Those who say jobs are “hard to get” edged up to 30.3 percent from 29.7 percent in June, while those who say jobs are “plentiful” declined to 13.5 percent from 14.1 percent.

Consumers’ outlook, while somewhat improved, remains largely pessimistic. Consumers anticipating business conditions to worsen over the next six months eased to 32.4 percent from 33.5 percent, while those expecting conditions to improve edged up to 9.3 percent from 8.5 percent in June.

The outlook for the labor market remains gloomy. The percent of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead increased to 37.1 percent from 35.7 percent, while those anticipating more jobs remained virtually unchanged at 8.2 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase rose to 14.2 percent from 13.1 percent.

SOURCE: THE CONFERENCE BOARD