US Consumer Confidence Falls in July

Confidence among U.S. consumers declined in July to a five-month low, a sign the lack of jobs will limit the economy’s recovery.

The Conference Board’s confidence index fell to 50.4 from a revised 54.3 in June, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today.

Sentiment may be slow to improve until companies start adding to payrolls at a faster rate, and the Federal Reserve projects unemployment will take time to decline. Today’s figures showed income expectations at their lowest point in more than a year, posing a risk for consumer spending that accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

The group’s measure of present conditions decreased to 26.1 in July from 26.8 a month earlier. The gauge of expectations for the next six months dropped to 66.6, the lowest since February, from 72.7.

The proportion who expect their incomes to rise over the next six months fell to 10 percent, the lowest since April 2009, from 10.6 percent. The percent of respondents expecting more jobs to become available in the next six months decreased to 14.3 from 16.2 the previous month.

The share of consumers who said jobs are currently plentiful held at 4.3 percent. Those who said jobs are hard to get increased to 45.8 percent from 43.5 percent.

Today’s report is in line with the preliminary reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan confidence index, which declined in July to the lowest level since August 2009.

Americans are less willing to take on debt without an improvement in the labor market. Consumer borrowing dropped $9.1 billion in May, following a revised $14.9 billion slump in April that was initially estimated as an increase, according to a Fed report on July 8., Bloomberg
7/27/2010 10:18:30 AM