WASHINGTON (7/29/13)--U.S. consumer confidence in the economy unexpectedly climbed in July to the highest level in six years, according to the Thomson Reuters/ University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment.
The index increased in July to 85.1 from a June reading of 84.1. The increase was attributed to expectations for inflation leveling off despite a recent jump in energy prices and consumers feeling more upbeat about the current economic climate even though they anticipate a slower growth rate in the year ahead (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com July 26).
Economists had anticipated the final July reading to remain little changed at 84, according to a Dow Jones Newswire survey.
Higher property values and stock portfolios are increasing personal wealth, buoying consumer confidence and elevating consumer spending, Bloomberg said.
Also, the negative effects of higher payroll taxes are being mitigated by stronger personal finances and job gains that have risen from the second half of 2012, Bloomberg added.
The consumer confidence level, the highest since July 2007, suggests continued growth in consumer spending for the year ahead, Richard Curtin, director of the index's survey, said in a statement, the Times reported.