U.S. consumer confidence increases in July

Consumer confidence increased in July as consumers' assessment of current conditions and the labor market improved, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® increased to 121.1, up from 117.3 in June. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a crucial part of a strong rebound.

The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are "good" increased from 30.6 percent to 33.3 percent, while those saying business conditions are "bad" was virtually unchanged at 13.5 percent. Consumers' assessment of the labor market also was more positive. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" increased from 32 percent to 34.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased from 18.4 percent to 18 percent.

Consumers also were more optimistic about the short-term outlook in July. The number of consumers expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months increased from 20.1 percent to 22.9 percent; those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 10 percent to 8.2 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market improved, as well. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead remained unchanged at 19.2 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 14.6 percent to 13.3 percent.

"Consumer confidence increased in July following a marginal decline in June," says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions remained at a 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3), and their expectations for the short-term outlook improved somewhat after cooling last month. Overall, consumers foresee the current economic expansion continuing well into the second half of this year."

Date : 7/26/2017