Consumers Still Jittery About The Economy

Consumer confidence held steady at a relatively weak level this month, the Conference Board announced Tuesday.

The finding supports the contention that consumers are not going to spark a robust economic rebound and follows a report that consumer spending rose only modestly in June.

The Conference Board, a New York-based business group, said its confidence index dipped to 77.7 in July, from 78 last month. These levels are "generally associated with a feeble economy," the group said.

The index of consumer feelings and expectations about the economy was set with a base of 100 in 1985.

Disposable Income Scarce

"The sense I got is that the American public is fairly confident in the future, but we've still got the problem of disposable income not being there," said George B. Williams, senior vice president of AmSouth Bank, Birmingham, Ala.

"I think it's going to be a slow recovery," said Mr. Williams, who is also chairman of the automobile finance committee of the Consumer Bankers Association.

On Monday, the Commerce Department said consumer spending grew 0.5% in June. That compares with a revised 1.2% increase in May.

The Conference Board reported no significant change in plans to buy cars and homes. Just over 6% of the 5,000 households interviewed said they plan to buy a car within six months. And 2.8% said they plan to buy a home.

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