Consumer confidence fell less than expected

Employees wait to greet shoppers during British clothing retailer Topshop’s grand opening of the chain’s New York flagship store
Thomson Reuters

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 97.3 in July, which was a lesser drop than expected.

Economists had forecast that the index slipped to 96 this month, after improving to 98.

The index had leveled off after steady gains in the past few years.

“Consumer confidence held steady in July, after improving in June,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

“Consumers were slightly more positive about current business and labor market conditions, suggesting the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace. Expectations regarding business and labor market conditions, as well as personal income prospects, declined slightly as consumers remain cautiously optimistic about growth in the near-term.”

Consumers who said that business condition are “good” increased to 28.1% from 26.8%, but those who said business conditions are bad also rose, up to 19.0% from 18.3%. Moreover, those who said jobs are “plentiful” dropped to 23.0% from 23.2%, but those who said jobs are “hard to get” also dropped, down to 22.3% from 23.7%.

Plus, the report notes that the proportion of those expecting more jobs in the months ahead was essentially unchaged at 14.0%, while those anticipating less jobs dropped to 17.0% from 17.7%.