July 29, 2008

Consumer Confidence Holding at Low Levels

The Conference Board said Tuesday its monthly index of consumer confidence in the United States gained, but only slightly, in July.

July's 51.9 level was sightly above June's 51.0 reading, which was the fifth lowest on record, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center Lynn Franco said.

The monthly index is derived from a survey of 5,000 households taken early in the month. It uses 1985 as the base year, giving that year a value of 100.

July's Present Situation Index was virtually unchanged, declining one tick from June's 65.4 to 65.3. The Expectations Index increased modestly the report said, rising from 41.4 to 43.

The numbers suggest no significant improvement nor significant deterioration in business or labor market conditions, Franco said.

But consumers remain pessimistic about both.

Those indicating business conditions were good increased from 11.5 to 13.1 percent but those claiming business conditions are bad increased from 31.9 percent to 32.8 percent, the Conference Board reported.

Those indicating jobs are hard to get rose from 29.7 percent 30.3 percent, while those indicating jobs were plentiful fell from 14.1 percent to 13.5 percent, the report said.