Consumer Confidence Holds Steady In July

If the latest batch of consumer confidence scores are to be believed, consumers are carrying forward with the uptick of retail-related faith first observed in June — though they haven’t grown much. Figures for July were largely flat, according to nonprofit business and research group the Conference Board.

By the numbers, consumer confidence is at 97.3 on the index, a slight downtick from the 97.4 in June. The Present Situation Index, a consumer assessment of conditions on the ground today, increased from 116.6 to 118.3.

The Expectations Index — the measure of short-term outlook — turned down a bit to 83.3 from 84.6 in June. Consumers also reported a belief that conditions will worsen slightly, but the labor market remains a solid source of confidence.

Stable outsets are a retailer friend, and the index mostly indicates that. About 16.6 percent of consumers believe their income will rise — a drop from 18.2 percent in June — but only 10.3 percent think their income will fall, down 11.3 percent from last month.

Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, noted the latest figures “suggests the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace.”  She also noted consumers’ cautious optimism about the near term.

This follows a University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment report, which found decreasing confidence among higher-income households following the Brexit event in the U.K.

“For these households, the initial impact on domestic stock prices translated Brexit into personal wealth losses,” University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin said in a statement. “While stock prices quickly rebounded, an underlying sense of uncertainty about global prospects as well as the outlook for the domestic economy have not faded.”




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