U.S. con­sumer con­fi­dence re­bounds

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. con­sumers gained con­fi­dence this month, with more Amer­i­cans pleased by cur­rent con­di­tions and more hope­ful about the fu­ture.

The Conference Board, a New York-based busi­ness re­search group, said its con­sumer con­fi­dence in­dex in July rose to 121.1, up from a re­vised read­ing of 117.3 in June. Con­sumers’ views on cur­rent con­di­tions hit the high­est level since July 2001, while ex­pec­ta­tions for the fu­ture re­bounded af­ter a slight dip in June.

Economists say the strong read­ings on con­sumer con­fi­dence are be­ing bol­stered by a healthy job mar­ket, with un­em­ploy­ment at a low 4.4 per­cent in June.

Michael Pearce, a U.S. econ­o­mist for Cap­i­tal Eco­nomics, said the strong con­fi­dence read­ings were a good sign that re­cent weak­ness in re­tail sales will prove to be tem­po­rary and “con­sump­tion growth will re­main strong over the rest of the year.”

Con­sumer spend­ing ac­counts for 70 per­cent of U.S. eco­nomic growth.

The over­all con­fi­dence read­ing of 121.1 was the high­est since the con­fi­dence in­dex hit 124.9 in March. Both of those read­ings were the high­est since con­fi­dence stood at 128.6 in De­cem­ber 2000.

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