Consumers are pulling back slightly on their positive outlook, according to The Conference Board's July Consumer Confidence Index released today.
After two months of post-Recession records, the index fell 2.2% from 82.1 to 80.3 for July. Analysts had expected a slightly smaller pullback to 81.0. The index uses 1985 as its 100-point benchmark.
"Consumer Confidence fell slightly in July, precipitated by a weakening in consumers' economic and job expectations," said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco in a statement today. "However, confidence remains well above the levels of a year ago. Consumers' assessment of current conditions continues to gain ground and expectations remain in expansionary territory despite the July retreat. Overall, indications are that the economy is strengthening and may even gain some momentum in the months ahead."
The index is comprised of responses from a random sample of consumers and, in this latest report, it was future expectations that took the main hit. Only 19.1% of respondents expect business conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to 21.4% in June. Those predicting more jobs also fell, from 19.7% to just 16.5%. At the same time, 18.1% of respondents expect fewer jobs, up from June's 16.1%.