Consumer confidence plunges in July

After an uptick in June, consumer confidence fell sharply in July, The Conference Board reported.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 90.9 for the month, down from 99.8 in June and its lowest level since September 2014. June’s figure was also revised downward from 101.4.

“Consumers continue to assess current conditions favorably, but their short-term expectations deteriorated this month,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “A less optimistic outlook for the labor market, and perhaps the uncertainty and volatility in financial markets prompted by the situation in Greece and China, appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence. Overall, the Index remains at levels associated with an expanding economy and a relatively confident consumer.”

The Present Situation portion of the index decreased slightly from 110.3 last month to 107.4 in July, but the Expectations Index dropped to 79.9 from 92.8 in June.

Overall, consumers were much less optimistic about the future, especially in the labor market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 17.1 percent to 13.1 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 15.2 percent to 20.0 percent.

Consumers are also more pessimistic about labor conditions, with the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declining from 17.9 percent to 14.7 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen rose slightly from 10.2 percent to 10.7 percent.

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