NEW YORK – July 26, 2011 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved slightly in July after declining in June. The Index now stands at 59.5, up from 57.6 in June. The Present Situation Index decreased to 35.7 from 36.6. However, the Expectations Index, which gauges expectations for six months in the future, rose to 75.4 from 71.6 last month.
“Consumer confidence posted a modest gain in July, the result of an improvement in consumers’ short-term outlook,” says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “ Consumers’ appraisal of current business and employment conditions, however, was less favorable as concerns about the labor market continue to weigh on attitudes. Overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future, but some of the concern expressed last month has abated.”
Consumers stating current business conditions are “good” decreased to 13.4 percent from 13.7 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased to 39.0 percent from 38.4 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was also less favorable. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased to 44.1 percent from 43.2 percent, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” remained unchanged at 5.1 percent.
Consumers’ short-term outlook improved moderately in July. The proportion of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 17.7 percent from 16.5 percent. However, those anticipating business conditions will worsen also increased to 15.2 percent from 14.9 percent.
Consumers were also mixed about the outlook for the labor market over the next six months. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 16.7 percent from 13.8 percent. However, those expecting fewer jobs also increased to 21.8 percent from 20.7 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes rose to 15.7 percent from 14.1 percent.
The Nielsen Company conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey for the Conference Board based on a probability-design random sample. The cutoff date for July’s preliminary results was July 14, 2011.