Consumer confidence at highest level in 5 years
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 7:33 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Americans' confidence in the economy rose to its highest level in more than five years, bolstered by a more optimistic outlook for hiring.
The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index jumped to 81.4 in June. That's the best reading since January 2008. And it is up from May's reading of 74.3, which was revised downward from 76.2.
Consumers' confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.
The report shows consumers are more positive about current economic conditions and have a more optimistic view of the economy and job market in the next six months.
Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said that “suggests the pace of growth is unlikely to slow in the short term, and may even moderately pick up.”
Employers added 175,000 jobs in May, nearly matching the average monthly gain for the past year. That's enough to slowly lower the unemployment rate. The rate ticked up to 7.6 percent last month but has fallen 0.6 percentage points in the past year.
More Americans see signs of hiring taking place. Nearly 12 percent describe the number of jobs available as “plentiful,” the most since September 2008.
And nearly 20 percent of consumers expect there will be more jobs in six months, while only 16.1 percent expect fewer jobs. That's the first time those expecting more jobs have outnumbered those expecting fewer since February 2012.
Rising home prices are also likely making Americans feel wealthier and more confident about spending. Home prices jumped 12.1 percent in April compared with a year ago, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index, also released Tuesday.
Slightly more consumers said they planned to buy a car in the next six months. The percentage saying they planned to buy a home also ticked up.
Americans have been resilient this year, despite tax increases and steep government spending cuts. Consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in two years in the first three months of the year. That helped the overall economy grow at a 2.4 percent annual pace during the January-March quarter.
Economists forecast that overall economic growth is slowing to a 2 percent annual pace in the April-June quarter, in part because they expect consumers have eased up on spending from the robust first-quarter pace.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Highmark’s insurance profit falls 40%
- Corbett: Coal is working
- PNC’s CEO elected board chairman
- Drugmakers ready to carve out deals any way they can
- Mastech Holdings records 51 percent profit jump in 1st quarter
- BNY Mellon notches $661M profit in 1st quarter
- McDonald’s profit slips amid weak sales
- Young visionaries at PieceMaker Technologies Inc. see future in 3-D
- Earthquakes could affect Beaver Valley nuke plant more than first thought
- ‘Old GM’ defense expected in court fight over faulty ignition switch
- Google challenges nonprofits on ideas to use Glass