U.S. Consumer Confidence Virtually Unchanged for July


A shopper carrying bags in New York, on May 13. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News

A gauge of U.S. consumer confidence edged lower, but was relatively unchanged in July, a sign American households are shrugging off global economic uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index fell to 97.3 in July from a downwardly revised 97.4 in June, the research group said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a reading of 96.3 in July.

“Consumers remain cautiously optimistic about growth in the near-term,” said Lynn Franco, the group’s director of economic indicators.

The present-situation index rose in July to 118.3 from a downwardly revised 116.6. The expectations index fell slightly to 83.3 from 84.6 in June.

Sentiment about the labor market was mixed. The share of respondents saying jobs were “plentiful” fell slightly to 23%, but so did the share who said jobs were “hard to get,” to 22.3%. Hiring has slowed in 2016 to an average of 172,000 jobs per month, compared with an average of 229,000 jobs each month in 2015.

A preliminary consumer sentiment survey by the University of Michigan showed a decline in sentiment in July following the Brexit vote, a factor cited by many high-income consumers.

Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. economic output. After a slow start to the year, Americans have picked up their pace of spending in recent months.

Anna Louie Sussman at anna.sussman@wsj.com

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