Consumer Confidence Falls
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan July preliminary consumer sentiment index fell to 72, hitting its lowest level since last December. Economists had expected a reading of 73.4, according to a Reuters poll, against 73.2 in the final June report.
Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly declined in July to the lowest level this year as the labor market showed few signs of improvement.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment dropped to 72 this month from June’s 73.2 reading. The gauge was projected to rise to 73.5, according to a median forecast of 69 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The weakest quarter of corporate hiring in two years along with stock market volatility tied to Europe’s debt crisis threaten to hold back the household spending that accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. At the same time, gasoline prices have failed this month to extend a decline that began in early April.
“There hasn’t been a lot for consumers to kind of hang their hat on recently,” Thomas Simons, an economist at Jefferies Group Inc. in New York, said before the report. “It’s hard to imagine that there’s a lot of good feelings being generated for the consumer at the moment.”