The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in June, increased once again in July. The Index now stands at 90.9 (1985=100), up from 86.4 in June. The Present Situation Index increased to 88.3 from 86.3, while the Expectations Index rose to 92.7 from 86.4 in June.
“Consumer confidence increased for the third consecutive month and is now at its highest level since October 2007 (95.2),” Lynn Franco, director/economic indicators at The Conference Board said. “Strong job growth helped boost consumers’ assessment of current conditions, while brighter short-term outlooks for the economy and jobs, and to a lesser extent personal income, drove the gain in expectations. Recent improvements in consumer confidence, in particular expectations, suggest the recent strengthening in growth is likely to continue into the second half of this year.”
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in July. Those claiming business conditions are “good” edged down to 22.7% from 23.4%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” was virtually unchanged at 22.7%. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was more favorable. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased to 15.9% from 14.6%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” remained unchanged at 30.7%.
Consumers’ expectations were more optimistic in July as well. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 20.2% from 18.4%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen held steady at 11.5%. Consumers were more positive about the outlook for the labor market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 19.1% from 16.3%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 16.4% from 18.4%. Slightly more consumers expect their incomes to grow, 17.3% in July versus 16.7% in June, while those expecting a drop in their incomes declined to 11.0% from 11.4%.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was July 17.