Consumer Confidence Rises in July

U.S. consumer confidence edged higher in July as jitters over the outlook eased, though consumers remained gloomy about their current situations, according to a private sector report released Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 59.5 from a downwardly revised 57.6 the month before. Economists had expected a reading of 56.0, according to a Reuters poll.

June's figure was originally reported as 58.5.

The expectations index rose to 75.4 from 71.6.

Worries about the labor market continued to weigh on consumers, however, and the present situation index fell to its lowest level since February at 35.7 from 36.6.

``Overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future, but some of the concern expressed last month has abated,'' Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

Consumers' labor market assessment worsened. The number of respondents saying they found ``jobs hard to get'' rose to 44.1 percent from 43.2 percent the month before, while the ``jobs plentiful'' category held steady at 5.1 percent.

Consumers also felt better about price increases with expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months falling to 5.7 percent from 6 percent. It was also the lowest level since February.