U.S. consumer confidence falls in July

Consumer confidence decreased in July as consumers were less optimistic about the economy's short-term outlook, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell to 80.3 in July from 82.1 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 critical part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months fell to 19.1 percent from 21.4 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen remained basically unchanged at 11.2 percent.

Additionally, 16.5 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 19.7 percent in June. Those expecting fewer jobs increased from 16.1 percent to 18.1 percent.

"Consumer confidence fell slightly in July, precipitated by a weakening in consumers' economic and job expectations," says Lynn Franco, The Conference Board's director of economic indicators. "However, confidence remains well above the levels of a year ago. Consumers' assessment of current conditions continues to gain ground, and expectations remain in expansionary territory despite the July retreat. Overall, indications are that the economy is strengthening and may even gain some momentum in the months ahead."

Date : 8/8/2013