US consumer confidence fell slightly in July

Confidence among US consumers contracted in July, with the Conference Board’s indicator falling unexpectedly to 80.3 from a revised 82.1. Analysts had expected a fall to 81.5.

But it’s not all bad news. The number of consumers saying business conditions were “good” rose to 20.9 per cent from 19.4 per cent, while those stating conditions are “bad: fell to 24.5 per cent from 24.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, assessments of the jobs market has improved, with the number saying jobs are “plentiful” rising to 12.2 per cent from 11.3 per cent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined to 35.5 per cent from 37.1 per cent.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said that July’s level of confidence is still above the levels seen just one 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.

But the outlook for the future was less upbeat, with just 19.1 per cent expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months – down from 21.4 per cent – and the proportion anticipating more jobs in this period falling to 16.5 per cent from 19.7 per cent.