U.S. consumer sentiment picked up in July, though it remains at a relatively low level, according to data released Friday (July 25).
The consumer-sentiment index from the University of Michigan and Reuters hit 61.2 in July reported CBS Marketwatch. That’s up from a reading earlier in the month of 56.6 and compares with 56.4 in June. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a July result of 56.0.
“Even after the small July gain, the overall level of consumer confidence is dismal and still points toward declines in the pace of spending in late 2008 and early 2009,” said Richard Curtin, the director of the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
The June reading was the lowest since 1980 and the third-lowest reading in the 56-year history of the survey.
July’s gain could be a “dead cat bounce,” Curtin said.
“Following a steep decline in confidence a small gain is recorded before confidence resumes its downward slide,” Curtin said.
Economists have been concerned about rising gas and food costs and a shaky job market continuing to slam consumer confidence and expectations about the economy.
The expectations index was 53.5 in July, up from 49.2 in June, but below 81.5 last July.
“A recession has always occurred whenever the expectations index has declined by this amount,” the survey statement said.