By Lenore Fedow
The consumer confidence level decreased in July, especially in states like Florida and Michigan, where an increasing number of COVID-19 cases have been reported.
New York—U.S. consumer confidence fell in July as COVID-19 cases continued to rise, posing a threat to an economic recovery.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index dropped to 92.6 in July compared with 98.3 in June, lower than the 94.5 economists had expected.

“Large declines were experienced in Michigan, Florida, Texas and California, no doubt a result of the resurgence of COVID-19,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

The Present Situation Index improved to 94.2 from 86.7 last month, meaning consumers are feeling better about current business and labor market conditions.

The percent of consumers that said business conditions are “good,” remained unchanged month-over-month at around 17 percent.

Those who said conditions were “bad” decreased to 39 percent compared with 43 percent in June.

Consumer outlook improved in regard to the job market with 21 percent of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” compared with just under 21 percent in June.

The percentage of those who said jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 20 percent from 23 percent.

However, consumers are less optimistic about the short-term outlook.

The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – decreased to 91.5 from 106.1 in June.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined to 32 percent from 42 percent.

More consumers are expecting business conditions to worsen—19 percent compared with 15 percent in June.

Consumers were also more pessimistic about the labor market.

Fewer consumers expect to see more jobs in the months ahead, with that percentage declining to 31 percent from 38 percent in July.

The percentage of consumers expecting to see fewer jobs also increased to 20 percent, compared with 14 percent in the previous month.

As for short-term income, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase was flat at 15 percent.

The percentage of consumers expecting a decrease was up to 15 percent, compared with 14 percent in the previous month.

That uncertainty about the short-term future doesn’t bode well for recovery or consumer spending, said Franco.

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