WASHINGTON -- Consumer confidence dropped this month from a more than five-year high, but still remains well above levels of a year ago, the Conference Board said Tuesday.
The group's index decreased to 80.3 in July from an upwardly revised 82.1 in June. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected the figure to decline to 81.3.
The drop was caused by lower expectations of economic and job conditions over the next six months, said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.
But she said those views still were consistent with an expanding economy, and consumers' view of current economic conditions continued to improve in July.
"Overall, indications are that the economy is strengthening and may even gain some momentum in the months ahead,” Franco said.
The other leading barometer of consumer sentiment, from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, hit a six-year high this month.
In the Conference Board survey, the percentage of consumers who described business conditions as good increased to 20.9% in July from 19.4% the previous month. And 12.2% of respondents said jobs were plentiful, compared with 11.3% in June.
But the six-month outlook weakened.
The percentage of consumers who expected business conditions to improve dropped to 19.1% from 21.4%. And consumers were less optimistic about the labor market, with the percentage of respondents expecting more jobs to be created declining to 16.5% in July from 19.7% the previous month.