Consumer Confidence Up for Sixth Consecutive Month

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U.S. consumer confidence rose for the sixth consecutive month, albeit slightly, representing its highest level since February 2020.

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The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index stands at 129.1, up from 128.9 in June, compared to 132.6 in February 2020, according to a statement.

“Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions held steady, suggesting economic growth in Q3 is off to a strong start,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook didn’t waver, and they continued to expect that business conditions, jobs and personal financial prospects will improve. Short-term inflation expectations eased slightly but remained elevated. Spending intentions picked up in July, with a larger percentage of consumers saying they planned to purchase homes, automobiles and major appliances in the coming months. Thus, consumer spending should continue to support robust economic growth in the second half of 2021.”

In addition, the Present Situation Index — based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions — rose to 160.3. The share of consumers who said jobs were “plentiful” increased to a 21-year high. The Expectations Index — based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions — was virtually unchanged at 108.4, compared to 108.5 last month, according to the statement.

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In addition, consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions improved slightly in July, with 26.4% of consumers saying business conditions are “good,” up from 25.2%; 19.3% of consumers said business conditions are “bad,” up from 19.1%.

In terms of consumers’ assessment of the labor market, it was relatively flat, with 54.9% of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful,” up from 54.7%; and 10.5% of consumers said jobs are “hard to get,” unchanged from June.

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 Consumers’ optimism about the short-term business conditions outlook eased slightly in July, according to the statement, with 33.4% of consumers expecting business conditions to improve, down from 33.7%; 10.5% expect business conditions to worsen, down from 10.8%.

Consumers were also mixed about the short-term labor market outlook, with 27.7% of consumers expecting more jobs to be available in the months ahead, up from 26.6% — and 16.8% anticipating fewer jobs, up from 15.7%.

The takeaway from this month’s survey is that consumers remain upbeat about their short-term financial prospects.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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