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Consumer sentiment at lowest level of the year on Europe, jobs

June 15, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • American consumer confidence slipped to a six-month low in June, according to a report from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan
American consumer confidence slipped to a six-month low in June, according… (CX Matiash / AP Photo )

With a sense of doom creeping over Europe and labor woes in the U.S., the level of American confidence in June is at a low for the year, according to a preliminary index from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan.

The measure fell to 74.1 in early June — a six-month low — after reaching a more than four-year high of 79.3 last month. The gauge had gone up for the past nine months.

Analysts had expected — and hoped for — better.  Consumer sentiment is considered a bellwether for spending, which accounts for about 70% of the U.S. economy.

Breakout indexes measuring Americans’ feelings about current conditions and future expectations both fell. Upper-income households making more than $75,000 a year fell 17.2 points — the most since such data was first collected in 2005, according to Credit Suisse.

Americans haven’t heard much good news about job prospects recently. The national unemployment rate recently ticked back up to 8.2%. The Thomson Reuters report found 28% of households expecting more joblessness next year — the highest percentage since December.  

A separate survey Friday from Gallup seems to back the findings.

Americans get progressively less positive about economic conditions the further away they look from home, according to the report. Nearly half say things are good in their local area, but only a quarter feel the same about the entire U.S. Just 13% of respondents feel chipper about the global situation.

Influenced by the souring economy and bad business reputation in the Golden State, residents on the West Coast tend to feel much more pessimistic. But on Friday, Californians got an unexpected surprise when government data showed employers adding 33,900 jobs, pushing the unemployment rate down to 10.8%.

As for Europe, Gallup found that most Americans aren’t paying close attention but still have a generally negative reaction.

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