The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in June, held steady in July. The Index now stands at 51.9 (1985=100), up slightly from 51.0 in June. The Present Situation Index was virtually unchanged at 65.3 versus 65.4 last month. The Expectations Index increased moderately to 43.0 from 41.4 in June.
“Consumers assessment of current conditions was little changed, suggesting there has been no significant improvement, nor significant deterioration, in business or labor market conditions,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center conference board. “Looking ahead consumers remain extremely grim about short-term prospects.”
Consumers appraisal of the labor market remained negative. Those saying jobs are “hard to get” edged up to 30.3% from 29.7% in June, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined to 13.5% from 14.1%.
Consumers anticipating business conditions to worsen over the next six months eased to 32.4% from 33.5%, while those expecting conditions to improve edged up to 9.3% from 8.5% 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% from 35.7%, while those anticipating more jobs remained virtually unchanged at 8.2%. The percentage of consumers expecting income to increase rose to 14.2% from 13.1%.