Consumer confidence falls to lowest level since 2017 amid trade war

Consumer confidence has been shaken by the ongoing trade war with China and other countries, a new survey by The Confidence Board found. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

June 25 (UPI) — The ongoing trade war with China and other countries could be hurting consumer confidence, which declined this month after three months of gains.

The Consumer Confidence index fell to 121.5, the lowest level since September 2017, Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

“The decrease in the Present Situation Index was driven by a less favorable assessment of business and labor market conditions,” Franco said. “The escalation in trade and tariff tensions earlier this month appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence.”

Prolonged uncertainty could result in further volatility in the index, Franco added.

The June Consumer Confidence Survey found 36.7 percent of businesses claim conditions are “good,” down from 38.4 percent in May. However, those saying business conditions are “bad” also decreased from 11.7 percent to 10.9 percent.

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While unemployment remains at the lowest level in 50 years, only 44 percent of respondents said jobs are “plentiful” compared with 45.3 percent just a month ago. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” went up from 11.8 percent to 16.4 percent.

Consumers are also less optimistic about business conditions improving with 18.1 percent saying business conditions will be better in six months. That’s down from 21.4 percent a month ago.

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