MADISON, Wis. (7/15/13)--Two separate reports last week indicate mixed consumer sentiment about the state of the U.S. economy and personal finances during July.
Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in July because U.S. citizens became less upbeat about the economy's outlook, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment, which was released Friday (Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com July 12).
The index dropped to 83.9 in July from 84.1 in June, after the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts predicted a gain to 84.7.
Consumers' views on the economy in the next six months may have been dampened by increases in gasoline prices and mortgage interest rates, Bloomberg said.
However, consumer sentiment rose for a fourth consecutive week in the week ended July 7--to its highest level in more than five years--because Americans became more positive about their personal finances, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday (Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com July 11).
The index increased to -23.7--its highest level since January 2008--from -25.7 the prior week. A subcomponent of the index--a gauge of personal finances--rose to the second-best reading since April 2008, and the measure of the buying climate improved to a nine-week high, Bloomberg said.
Consumers' confidence in the durability of the recovery was bolstered by a slower pace of job cuts and steady improvement in hiring--and that durability should maintain consumer confidence near present levels, Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York, told Bloomberg.