Consumer confidence holds steady

New York Consumers' spirits perked up modestly for a second straight month during July, rising by 1.0% to a level of 106.5 and staging a comeback from an April slide, The Conference Board reported.

Consumers are still feeling good about current business conditions, but their expectations are subdued looking six months out, said the business think tank, following its monthly canvass of 5,000 Americans nationwide.

"Consumer confidence continues to hold steady, with the prognosis little changed from last month," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center . "Present day conditions remain favorable, though not as strong as earlier this year. Expectations for the months ahead remain cautious and also below levels earlier this year."

Weighing in on current conditions, consumers claiming conditions are good rose to 27.6% from 26.6% in June. But the number who claim conditions are bad also increased, rising to 15.5% from 15.0%. The outlook for the next six months improved modestly, with the number expecting conditions to worsen declining to 11.1% from 11.9%. But again, consumers were split on the issue, and the number who think conditions will improve fell to 16.4% from 16.8%.

The current jobs outlook was little changed, and the number who said jobs are plentiful increased to 28.6% from 28.0%. The number who think jobs are hard to get wa s virtually unchanged to 19.9%.

The number who think their incomes will increase in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 17.7 % . Buying plans were mixed, with more consumers planning to buy homes, carpets and cars, but fewer opting for major appliances or a vacation.

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