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U.S. Consumer Confidence Heads Higher

National consumer confidence also increased this month, though “the Present Situation Index suggests that economic conditions remain weak.”

NEW YORK – After almost no change in May, the national Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in June, and now stands at 98.1 – an increase from May’s 85.9.

The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – improved from 68.4 to 86.2. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 97.6 to 106.0 this month.

“Consumer confidence partially rebounded in June but remains well below pre-pandemic levels,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The re-opening of the economy and relative improvement in unemployment claims helped improve consumers’ assessment of current conditions, but the Present Situation Index suggests that economic conditions remain weak.”

Franco says consumers are less pessimistic about the short-term outlook, “but do not foresee a significant pickup in economic activity. Faced with an uncertain and uneven path to recovery, and a potential COVID-19 resurgence, it’s too soon to say that consumers have turned the corner and are ready to begin spending at pre-pandemic levels.”

Current conditions: Overall, consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in June. The percentage claiming business conditions are “good” rose from 16.4% to 17.4%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 51.2% to 43.2%.

Consumers’ assessment of the job market was also more favorable. The percentage saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 16.5% to 20.8%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 29.2% to 23.8%.

Future expectations: Consumers’ short-term outlook also improved overall. The percentage expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months was virtually unchanged at 42.6%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 20.5% to 15.3%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined from 39.5% to 38.4%; however, those anticipating fewer jobs in the also decreased from 19.9% to 14.2%.

Regarding short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase improved from 14.6% to 15.1%, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 15.4% to 14.4%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a probability-design random sample conducted by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was June 18.

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