CONSUMER CONFIDENCE UP

NEW YORK — Consumer confidence enjoyed a comeback in July, improving 2.5 points from June’s 5.5 point decline.
The Conference Board’s monthly Consumer Confidence Index indicated that an improved labor market bolstered consumer optimism and may accelerate purchasing in the coming months.
The index jumped to 141.7 this month, ahead of June’s 139.2 but well below January’s high of 144.7.
“Consumer confidence readings continue to indicate a strong overall economy,” said Lynn Franco, director of the New York group’s Consumer Research Center. “Consumers are not only optimistic about current conditions, but their expectations for the next six months signal continued low unemployment and minimal inflation pressures.”
Consumers calling business conditions “good” rose to 44.9 percent, up from 43.7 percent last month. Ratings of “bad” declined to 7.4 percent from 9.4 percent. Those saying jobs were “hard to get” dropped to 9.9 percent from 11.2 percent, an all-time low.
Franco said interest rate hikes and high prices at the gas pump over the past year have “so far had a minor impact on consumer confidence because the economy has been so strong.”
According to the survey, the confidence gain was a result of an increase in both components of the Index, including its Present Situation Index, which rose to 185.9, the year’s highest, from June’s 180.1 and the Expectation Index, which improved to 112.2

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