American consumers are feeling less confident in the U.S. economy. The July reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 72.3.
While that was down from 73.2 in June, and the lowest level recorded this year, it still topped the preliminary reading of 72 made earlier in the month, Reuters noted.
Consumers’ estimate of the economy’s current state rose slightly from 81.5 last month, to 82.7 in July. Despite that, consumer estimates of future conditions dipped from 67.8 in June, to 65.6 this month.
Almost half of consumers in the survey — 45% — said their personal finances had deteriorated. A tenth of the respondents expected to see their incomes rise in the coming 12 months. Only 11% reported a favorable view of current government economic policies.
Analysts cited by Reuters said Americans don’t expect the U.S. economy to sink back into recession, but they do see sluggish growth for the rest of the year. That growth wouldn’t be sufficient to lift the economy substantially or reduce unemployment from its current historically high levels.
Earlier this month, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales had fallen 0.5% in June, surprising most economists, who had predicted a 0.2% rise for the month. June marked the third consecutive monthly decline in retail sales, suggesting diminishing consumer confidence.