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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Confidence Retreats to 10-Month Low
by Tom Moeller  July 28, 2015

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declined 8.9% this month (+0.7% y/y) to 90.9 from 99.8 in June, revised from 101.4. It was the lowest reading since last September and missed expectations for 100.0 in the Action Economics Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 43% correlation between the level of confidence and the three-month change in real personal consumption expenditures.

The consumer expectations component collapsed 13.9% to 79.9 (-13.1% y/y), the lowest level since February of last year. The present situations figure eased 2.6% to 107.4 (+22.2% y/y), the lowest level in two months.

The percentage indicating that business conditions would get better reversed two months of improvement and collapsed to 14.7%, the lowest level since November 2011. Thirteen percent of respondents thought there would be more jobs, the least since late 2011 while the percentage which thought there would be fewer jobs surged. The expected inflation rate held at 5.1% and a raised 62.0% expected higher interest rates in twelve months and a lesser 32.4% expected higher stock prices. Nevertheless an increased 5.9% expected to buy a home within six months and the percentage which planned to purchase a major appliance neared the July 2010 high.

Respondents indicating that business were good fell to 24.2%, the least since September. The percentage reporting that jobs were plentiful eased m/m to 20.7%, but remained near the seven-year high. Jobs were viewed as hard to get by 26.7% of respondents, just above the recovery low of 24.6% reached six months ago. Jobs were viewed as not so plentiful by 52.6% of respondents, down from the December high of 55.5%.

Confidence deteriorated across age groups. The greatest decline in confidence was reported by those under age 35. Their confidence plummeted to the lowest level since November 2010 (-13.5% y/y). Respondents between the ages of 35 and 54 reported a modest easing in confidence (+0.6% y/y) as did individuals in the older age bracket (+10.3% y/y).

The Consumer Confidence data is available in Haver's CBDB database. The total indexes appear in USECON and the market expectations are in AS1REPNA.

Conference Board (SA, 1985=100) Jul Jun May Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Consumer Confidence Index 90.9 99.8 94.6 0.7 86.9 73.2 67.1
  Present Situation 107.4 110.3 107.1 22.2 87.3 67.6 49.8
  Expectations 79.9 92.8 86.2 -13.1 86.6 77.0 78.6
Consumer Confidence By Age Group
  Under 35 Years 90.6 112.7 117.3 -13.5 106.6 93.1 86.5
  Aged 35-54 Years 99.4 104.5 100.1 0.6 92.4 76.8 68.5
  Over 55 Years 83.7 89.2 81.7 10.3 73.8 61.2 56.7
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