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RISMEDIA, July 29, 2010—(MCT)—Consumer confidence fell in July 2010 on concerns about jobs and business conditions, following a sharp decline in June, the Conference Board recently reported.

July’s consumer confidence index fell to 50.4—the lowest level since February 2010—from an upwardly revised 54.3 in June.

“Concerns about business conditions and the labor market are casting a dark cloud over consumers that is not likely to lift until the job market improves,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s consumer research center, in a statement.

“Given consumers’ heightened level of anxiety, along with their pessimistic income outlook and lackluster job growth, retailers are very likely to face a challenging back-to-school season.”

July’s confidence reading should be closer to 90 than 50, given how long the economy has been recovering, Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist with Miller Tabak, wrote in a research note.

“While July provides some measure of stability for this index following the exceptionally large drop in June, by any measure, consumer confidence remains extraordinarily depressed in comparison to previous readings,” Greenhaus wrote.

Consumers’ view of current conditions fell in July, as did their short-term outlook.

The present-situation index fell to 26.1 in July, the lowest level since March, from 26.8 in June. Those saying present business conditions are “bad” rose to 43.6% in July from 41% in June, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” rose to 45.8% from 43.5%.

The expectations index fell to 66.6 in July, hitting the lowest level since February, from 72.7 in June. Those expecting business conditions in six months to be “worse” rose to 15.7% in July from 13.9% in June. Those expecting more jobs fell to 14.3% from 16.2%, and those expected a decrease of income rose to 17.5% from 16.8%.

Buying plans have been affected, according to the Conference Board. Those with plans to buy a home within six months fell to 1.9% in July from 2% in June. However, those with plans to buy an automobile rose to 4.5% from 4.1%, and those planning to buy major appliances rose to 28.5% from 23.7%.

Earlier this month the government reported that nonfarm payrolls fell 125,000 in June, with weak private-sector hiring.

(c) 2010, MarketWatch.com Inc.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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