Consumer confidence sags in June


The Conference Board is seeing a continuation of a downtrend in consumer confidence. 2011 started on a positive note but the sluggish pace of the economic recovery and other adverse factors are feeding pessimism among the nation’s consumers.

A score of 100 on the baseline Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index indicates consumer sentiment as it stood in 1985. The June reading is considerably less than that, standing at 58.5, and it is significantly less than the May reading of 61.7.

Other measures also took a turn for the worse month-to-month. The Present Situation Index declined from 39.3 to 37.6, and the Expectations Index declined from 76.7 to 72.4. Conference Board uses The Nielsen Company for the data underlying its report.

Only 14.3% of respondents say business conditions are good compared to 38% who say they are bad; and 43.8% say that jobs are hard to get, compared to a mere 5.2% who say they are plentiful.

Conference Board’s Lynn Franco commented, “This month’s decline in consumer confidence was driven by a less favorable assessment of current conditions and continued pessimism about the short-term outlook. Consumers rated both current business and labor market conditions less favorably than in May, and fewer consumers than last month foresee conditions improving over the next six months. Inflation fears eased considerably in June, but concerns about income prospects increased. Given the combination of uneasiness about the economic outlook and future earnings, consumers are likely to continue weighing their spending decisions quite carefully.”