The Conference Board’s Index of Consumer Confidence rose 1.9 points, from 57.6 in June to 59.5 in July. While this is an improvement, consumer sentiment has fallen from its recent high in February of 72.0, with the public uncertain about the current state of the economy. The index for present conditions fell from 36.6 to 35.7. Employment challenges weighed heavily on people’s minds. Over 44 percent noted that jobs were “hard to get,” nearly one percentage point higher than last month.
Expectations for the next six months, though, rose. The index for expectations increased from 71.6 in June to 75.4 in July. While this is well below the readings from earlier in the year, it is a step in the right direction, with higher expectations leading the larger consumer confidence measure higher. The percentage of respondents expecting higher income rose from 14.1 percent to 15.7 percent. Meanwhile, inflationary pressures became less of an issue than in previous months.
More people were planning to buy a home in July than in June, but auto and appliance purchase plans dropped. For the month, consumer confidence rose significantly in New England and the Mountain states, but fell in the Midwest and Southeastern regions.
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