Consumer Confidence Down Again in June

The headline number of 98.7 was a decrease of 4.5 from the final reading of 103.2 for May.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in June, following a decline in May. The Index fell to 98.7 (1985=100)—down 4.5 points from 103.2 in May—and now stands at its lowest level since February 2021 (Index, 95.2). The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—declined marginally to 147.1 from 147.4 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—decreased sharply to 66.4 from 73.7 and is at its lowest level since March 2013 (Index, 63.7).

“Consumer confidence fell for a second consecutive month in June,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “While the Present Situation Index was relatively unchanged, the Expectations Index continued its recent downward trajectory—falling to its lowest point in nearly a decade. Consumers’ grimmer outlook was driven by increasing concerns about inflation, in particular rising gas and food prices. Expectations have now fallen well below a reading of 80, suggesting weaker growth in the second half of 2022 as well as growing risk of recession by yearend.”

“Purchasing intentions for cars, homes, and major appliances held relatively steady—but intentions have cooled since the start of the year and this trend is likely to continue as the Fed aggressively raises interest rates to tame inflation. Meanwhile, vacation plans softened further as rising prices took their toll. Looking ahead over the next six months, consumer spending and economic growth are likely to continue facing strong headwinds from further inflation and rate hikes.” Read more

Putting the Latest Number in Context

The chart below is another attempt to evaluate the historical context for this index as a coincident indicator of the economy. Toward this end, we have highlighted recessions and included GDP. The regression through the index data shows the long-term trend and highlights the extreme volatility of this indicator. Statisticians may assign little significance to a regression through this sort of data. But the slope resembles the regression trend for real GDP shown below, and it is a more revealing gauge of relative confidence than the 1985 level of 100 that the Conference Board cites as a point of reference.

Consumer Confidence