Consumer confidence up slightly in July

Author: Associated Press
Consumers shop as they wear a mask at a Walmart store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Sunday, May 23, 2021. U.S. consumer confidence rose for a fifth month in June to the highest level since the pandemic began last year as households responded to increased vaccinations and the further re-opening of businesses. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

U.S. consumer confidence was largely unchanged between June and July, holding to the lofty heights that were last seen near the beginning of 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic throttled the U.S. and global economies.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index inched up in July to 129.1, above last month’s reading of 128.9. It’s the sixth straight month that the measurement has risen.

The appraisal of current business conditions among Americans ticked up slightly to 160.3, from 159.6 in June. Short term expectations came in at 108.4, barely down from 108.5 last month.

Consumers’ view of the labor market was essentially flat from June to July, with 54.9% of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful,” up from 54.7%.

Consumer spending makes up about 70% of all economic activity in the U.S., so economists pay close attention to the numbers for a better idea of what’s to come for the national economy.

“Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook didn’t waver, and they continued to expect that business conditions, jobs, and personal financial prospects will improve,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. More people planned to purchase big items like homes, automobiles and major appliances in the coming months, according to the survey.

Franco added that short-term inflation expectations eased but remain elevated.

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