By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — It’s the consumer version of June gloom: Americans this month are the most down and out they’ve been in five months, as hiring and income prospects dim.
An index of sentiment compiled by the Conference Board slid to 62 in June from 64.4 in May, the fourth consecutive decline.
“If this trend continues, spending may be restrained in the short term,” said Lynn Franco, the Conference Board’s director of economic indicators, in a statement. Consumer spending makes up the majority of the U.S. economy.
Americans’ expectations for the next six months are at 72.3, a low not seen since November. As gas prices continue to tank, however, they’re slightly more optimistic about their current situation.
The data, according to Franco, “suggests there will be little change in the pace of economic activity in the near term.”
More Americans — 41.5 percent — said jobs are difficult to get, although a smaller but growing number said positions are “plentiful.” Fewer people expect the number of jobs to grow or decline in the months ahead. Not as many respondents expect their incomes to increase.
A similar gauge from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan found consumer confidence this month at its lowest point of the year. A report earlier this week found that two-thirds of Americans don’t have enough funds set aside to survive a financial emergency.