The consumer confidence index posted its first decline in four months in June as it fell below economist estimates to 52.9, the Conference Board reported yesterday.

The median forecast in a Thomson Reuters survey of economists had called for consumer confidence to fall to 63.0 from an originally reported 63.3 in May. The May reading was also revised downward to 62.7. The sentiment gauge has a baseline of 100, which reflects readings in 1985.

“Until the pace of job growth picks up, consumer confidence is not likely to pick up,” said Lynn Franco, director of the board’s consumer research center.

The present situation index fell to 25.5 from a revised 29.8 in May. The expectations index fell to 71.2 from 84.6 in May, which was revised down from a preliminary reading of 85.3.

The proportion of respondents who said jobs were hard to get increased to 44.8% in June from 43.9% last month, which was revised upward from a preliminary May reading of 43.6%. Those who said jobs were plentiful fell to 4.3% from 4.6%.

Consumers’ short-term outlook, which improved significantly last month, turned more pessimistic in June. The proportion of respondents anticipating improved business conditions in the next six months decreased to 17.2% from 22.8%, while those expecting conditions to worsen rose to 14.9% from 11.9%.

Consumers were also much less optimistic about future job prospects. The percentage of consumers anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 16.0% from 20.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 20.8% from 17.8%. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes declined to 10.6% from 11.4%.

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