Although the Conference Board today reported that its Consumer Confidence Index for July inched higher for the second consecutive month, sentiment about current and future economic conditions remains quite mixed.
The index now stands at 106.5, up from 105.4 in June. The present situation index rose to 133 from 132.2. The expectations index edged up to 88.8 from 87.5 last month.
“Consumer confidence continues to hold steady, with the prognosis little changed from last month,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Present-day conditions remain favorable, though not as strong as earlier this year. Expectations for the months ahead remain cautious and also below levels earlier this year.”
Consumers’ overall assessment of current conditions held steady in July, The Conference Board reported. Consumers claiming conditions are “good” increased to 27.6 percent from 26.6 percent. However, those claiming conditions are “bad” also increased to 15.5 percent from 15 percent. Labor market conditions were little changed, as consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” increased to 28.6 percent from 28 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” remained virtually unchanged at 19.9 percent.
Consumers’ short-term outlook improved moderately in July. Those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 11.1 percent from 11.9 percent. However, those expecting business conditions to improve decreased to 16.4 percent from 16.8 percent.
The outlook for the labor market was also mixed. The percentage of consumers expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months decreased to 14.4 percent from 15.6 percent in June. Those expecting fewer jobs, however, declined to 16.7 percent from 17.3 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes to increase in the months ahead remained virtually unchanged at 17.7 percent.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.