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A Tough July for US Consumer Spending, But There Are Rays of Hope

executive summary Executive Summary

Our July consumer survey presents a mixed picture of the US economy. First and most importantly, overall consumer spending is down yet again from the previous month. Other indicators suggest that we may soon see things start to improve, however. The July 2-17 survey of 2,501 US consumers shows that it's a tough month for spending, although this is the fourth straight year we're seeing weakness in July, and part of the drop may be seasonal doldrums.

But at the same time there are rays of hope, including a modest yet surprising improvement in consumer expectations and confidence, easing job concerns, and signs that lower gas prices may be leading to more spending in other areas. The survey also took a preliminary look at back-to-school shopping plans and advance demand for several new tablet devices expected to hit the market this fall.

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