U.S. consumer confidence improves slightly

Consumer confidence increased slightly in July amid a mix of optimistic and bad economic news involving unemployment and the housing market, according to USA Today.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose from 57.6 in June to 59.5 in July. 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.

"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 consumers' attitudes. Overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future, but some of the concern expressed last month has abated."

Date : 7/27/2011