Consumers were slightly more positive about current business and labor market conditions in July

Escalators in shopping mall – consumer confidence
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July 26, 2016

Following a notable increase last month, U.S. consumer confidence held steady in July, remaining virtually unchanged. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 97.3, down just .1 point from the 97.4 seen in June.

The Index began 2016 with a January reading of 97.8—a level it has yet to rebound back to.

The Conference Board reports that consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions improved slightly in July. Those stating that business conditions are "good" increased from 26.8 percent to 28.1 percent; however, those saying that business conditions are "bad" also rose, from 18.3 percent to 19.0 percent.

Consumers' appraisal of the labor market was little changed from last month. Those claiming that jobs are "plentiful" declined marginally from 23.2 percent to 23.0 percent; however, those claiming that jobs are "hard to get" also decreased, from 23.7 percent to 22.3 percent.

Consumers' optimism regarding the short-term outlook was slightly less favorable in July. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 16.6 percent to 15.9 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 11.2 percent to 12.3 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was marginally more favorable than it was in June. The proportion of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 14.0 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 17.7 percent to 17.0 percent. The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 18.2 percent in June to 16.6 percent in July; however, the proportion expecting a decrease also declined, from 11.3 percent to 10.8 percent.

"Consumer confidence held steady in July, after improving in June," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers were slightly more positive about current business and labor market conditions, suggesting the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace. Expectations regarding business and labor market conditions, as well as personal income prospects, declined slightly as consumers remain cautiously optimistic about growth in the near-term."

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.

References: The Conference Board