The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved slightly in July, rising 1.9 points from the previous month to 59.5. As well, the Expectations Index ticked up 3.8 points to 75.4. However, the Present Situation Index decreased by 0.9 points to 35.7.
“Consumer confidence posted a modest gain in July, the result of an improvement in consumers’ short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’ appraisal of current business and employment conditions, however, was less favorable as concerns about the labor market continue to weigh on consumers’ attitudes. Overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future, but some of the concern expressed last month has abated.”
Consumers’ short-term outlook improved moderately in July, with the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months rising to 17.7% from 16.5%. However, the outlook was mixed, as those who anticipate business conditions will worsen also increased, to 15.2% from 14.9%.
As indicated by the decline in the Present Situations Index, consumers’ appraisal of current business and employment conditions was less favorable in July, as unemployment continues to weigh on their minds. While those stating that jobs are “plentiful” remained unchanged at 5.1%, those who said jobs are “hard to get” rose to 44.1% from 43.2%.
Those who said that current business conditions are “good” decreased to 13.4% from 13.7%, and those claiming that current business conditions are “bad” rose to 39.0% from 38.4%.