U.S. Consumers See Softening Economy

Lowest level in a year

U.S. consumer confidence reversed course and nose-dived in June to the lowest level in nearly a year as Americans saw a softening in business and employment opportunities, The Conference Board said on June 26.

It said its consumer confidence index fell to a 103.9 in June, down from a revised 108.5 in May. It was the lowest level since the 100.2 recorded in August 2006. "A perceived softening in present-day business and employment conditions are the major reasons behind this month's pull-back in confidence," said Conference Board research director Lynn Franco. "Looking ahead, consumers remain rather subdued about short-term economic prospects," she said.

In May the index had rebounded as Americans shrugged off record high gasoline prices and viewed more positively the current economic conditions. But despite easing gasoline prices this month, consumers appeared less upbeat about current conditions.

Asked about the outlook for the next six months, 16.1% of respondents said they expected improving business conditions, up from 15.3% a month earlier. But those expecting worsening conditions rose to 11% from 10.2%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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