US consumer confidence slips
Washington: The US consumer confidence continued to decline in July after hitting a 4.5-year high in May, as the job growth is slowing and food prices are rising, a leading industry report showed.
The index of US consumer confidence dipped to 72.3 in July from 73.2 last month, according to the final reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment. The fresh figure is better than the preliminary estimate of 72.
The July decline is the second in the past 10 months. The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession from December 2007 to June 2009, and 89 in the five years leading up to the recession.
The index gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, also eased to 65.6, the lowest so far this year.
The index of current conditions, reflecting Americans' perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like cars, rose to 82.7 from 81.5 in the previous month.
The US hiring slowed significantly in the past several months. From April to June, employers only added an average of 75,000 jobs per month, far less than an average of over 220,000 in the first three months this year. In addition, food prices are pushed up by severe drought disasters sweeping across two-thirds of the continental US.
The good news is that consumers do not expect the economic slowdown to prompt an economy-wide recession. But they also dot not expect the economic growth to revive job and income prospects, according to the survey.
It is widely believed that the US economic recovery will heavily rely on the rebound of consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the overall economic activity.