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Consumer Confidence takes a dip

New York – After two back-to-back months of encouraging gains, the Consumer Confidence Index fell back slightly in June.

The Conference Board reported today that the Index came in at 49.4 for June (1985=100), down from 54.8 in May but still besting April’s figure of 40.8.

“The decline in the Present Situation Index, caused by a less favorable assessment of business conditions and employment, continues to imply that economic conditions, while not as weak as earlier this year, are nonetheless weak,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

She added, “Expectations continue to suggest less negative conditions in the months ahead, as opposed to strong growth.”

According to the monthly survey of 5,000 U.S. households, only 8% of consumers described business conditions as "good," down from 8.8% in May. In addition, 45.6% of those surveyed described business conditions as "bad," up from 44.5% in May.

 Consumers stating jobs are “hard to get” increased to 44.8% from 43.9%. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” fell to 4.5% from 5.8%.

The Conference Board said consumers' short-term outlook also declined in June. Among respondents, just 21.2% said they expected business conditions to improve over the next six months compared to 22.5% who felt that way in May.

With that in view, it is not surprising consumers took a jaundiced view of job availability. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 17.4% from 19.3%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 27.3% from 25.6%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes declined to 9.8% from 10.8%.

Confidence was strongest in the West South Central region (72.8), Mountain region (69.7), South Atlantic region (54.5) and West North Central region (51.8).

It was weakest in the East North Central region (29.0) and New England (30.5).

Other regions – the Pacific (42.5), Middle Atlantic (46.2), and East South Central (48.0) – were tracking within range of the aggregate figure.

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