U.S. Consumer Confidence Index Unexpectedly Rose in July
Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly rose for the first time in five months as Americans became more upbeat about job prospects later this year.
The Conference Board’s index increased to 65.9 this month from 62.7 in June, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Economists projected a reading of 61.5, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The report showed a gain in the share of consumers anticipating better labor and economic conditions in six months.
A pickup in the housing market and decreases in fuel prices are helping sustain consumer sentiment. At the same time, faster job gains are needed to spur consumer spending, which grew in the second quarter at the slowest pace in a year.
“Consumers are definitely getting some benefit from lower gasoline prices and that is freeing up some income,” Gus Faucher, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in Philadelphia, said before the report. “Confidence is OK, it’s not great. We need better job growth.”