Confidence Inches Up in July

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NEW YORK – Consumer confidence eked out a small increase in July, rising to 106.5 from 105.4 in June, as Americans continued to rate their present circumstances as superior to their expectations.

Respondents to the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence survey gave their present situations a rating of 133.0, up from 132.2 in June but below May’s mark of 134.1. Expectations continued to lag, coming in at 88.8, above June’s 87.5 and May’s 85.1 but below April’s 92.3. The baseline of 100 is derived from the first survey in 1985.

“Consumer confidence continues to hold steady, with the prognosis little changed from last month,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Present day conditions remain favorable, though not as strong as earlier this year. Expectations for the months ahead remain cautious and also below levels earlier this year.”  

Among this month’s findings:

•  Those claiming conditions were good rose to 27.6% from 26.6%, even as those describing them as bad rose to 15.5% from 15%.

•  Those claiming jobs were more plentiful rose to 28.6% from 28% in the prior month, while those describing them as hard to get stayed at 19.9 percent.

•  Those who expect business conditions to worsen fell to 11.1% from 11.9%, even as those expecting improvement dropped to 16.4% from 16.8%.

In the past year, the peak for the overall index was 109.8 in April. Present situation ratings topped out at 136.2 and that same month. The peak for expectations came last December (92.6) followed closely by April (92.3).

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