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Consumer confidence in U.S. falls in June as Americans fret about near-term prospects

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Consumer confidence in U.S. falls in June as Americans fret about near-term prospects
News

News

Consumer confidence in U.S. falls in June as Americans fret about near-term prospects

2024-06-25 23:39 Last Updated At:23:40

American consumers lost some confidence in June as expectations over the near-term future fell again.

The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell in June to 100.4 from 101.3 in May. The index's decline was not quite as bad as analysts were expecting.

The index measures both Americans’ assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for the next six months.

The measure of Americans’ short-term expectations for income, business and the job market fell to 73 from 74.9 in May. A reading under 80 can signal a potential recession in the near future.

Consumers’ view of current conditions rose in June to 141.5, up from 140.8 in May.

“Confidence pulled back in June but remained within the same narrow range that’s held throughout the past two years, as strength in current labor market views continued to outweigh concerns about the future,” said Dana Peterson, the Conference Board’s chief economist.

Even though the unemployment rate ticked up to 4% in May, America’s employers added a strong 272,000 jobs last month, a sign that companies are still confident enough in the economy to keep hiring despite persistently high interest rates.

Last month’s sizable job gain was propelled by consumer spending on travel, entertainment and other services. U.S. airports reported near-record traffic over the Memorial Day weekend.

Despite the better-than-expected job gains in May, there is some visible weakening in the labor market: job postings for April hit their lowest level since 2021 and the number of Americans who are receiving unemployment benefits has risen for seven straight weeks.

On Monday, Mary Daly, president of the San Francisco Fed, said that the labor market remained healthy but that future slowing could trigger higher unemployment, something that needs to be monitored closely.

Most economic indicators show the U.S. economy in good shape by historical standards, though there have been some signs that growth is slowing.

The nation’s economy slowed sharply in the first quarter to a 1.3% annual pace in the face of high interest rates, down from a brisk 3.4% growth rate in the final three months of 2023.

Retail sales inched up just 0.1% in May from April as still high prices on groceries and other necessities and high interest rates curbed spending.

More cautious spending in the face of inflation has some big retailers offering discounts this summer. The latest quarterly earnings reported by big retailers show that while consumers have not stopped spending, they are becoming more price-conscious and choosy.

Consumer expectations of a recession in the next year pulled back in June after rising the previous two months, the Conference Board said.

FILE - Cathy Payne of Henderson looks at toys for her granddaughter at the Pigtails & Cowlicks consignment sale on Apr. 20, 2024, in Owensboro, Ky. On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the Conference Board issues its monthly survey of consumer confidence in the United States, which reflects Americans' assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for the next six months. (Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP, File)

FILE - Cathy Payne of Henderson looks at toys for her granddaughter at the Pigtails & Cowlicks consignment sale on Apr. 20, 2024, in Owensboro, Ky. On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the Conference Board issues its monthly survey of consumer confidence in the United States, which reflects Americans' assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for the next six months. (Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP, File)

FILE - Customers eat lunch at the counter at the Lexington Candy Shop on Sept. 28, 2023, in New York. On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the Conference Board issues its monthly survey of consumer confidence in the United States, which reflects Americans' assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for the next six months. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

FILE - Customers eat lunch at the counter at the Lexington Candy Shop on Sept. 28, 2023, in New York. On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the Conference Board issues its monthly survey of consumer confidence in the United States, which reflects Americans' assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for the next six months. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris moved swiftly Monday to lock up Democratic delegates behind her campaign for the White House after President Joe Biden stepped aside amid concerns from within their party that he would be unable to defeat Republican Donald Trump.

Biden's exit Sunday, prompted by Democratic worries over his fitness for office, was a seismic shift to the presidential contest that upended both major political parties' carefully honed plans for the 2024 race.

Aiming to put weeks of intraparty drama over Biden's candidacy behind them, prominent Democratic elected officials, party leaders and political organizations quickly lined up behind Harris in the hours after Biden announced he was dropping his reelection campaign.

Biden's departure frees his delegates to vote for whomever they choose. Harris, whom Biden backed after ending his candidacy, is thus far the only declared candidate and was working to quickly secure endorsements from a majority of delegates.

Additional endorsements Monday, including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, left a dwindling list of potential rivals to Harris.

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, who had been one of the notable holdouts to Harris, initially encouraging a primary to strengthen the eventual nominee, endorsed Harris Monday. Pelosi said she was lending her “enthusiastic support” to Harris' effort to lead the party.

More than 700 pledged delegates have told AP or announced that they plan to support Harris at the convention, which is over one-third of the pledged delegates she needs in order to clinch the nomination. Democratic National Committee rules most recently set 1,976 pledged delegates as the benchmark to win the nomination.

Winning the nomination is only the first item on a staggering political to-do list for her after Biden's decision to exit the race, which she learned about on a Sunday morning call with the president. If she's successful at locking up the nomination, she must also pick a running mate and pivot a massive political operation to boost her candidacy instead of Biden's with just over 100 days until Election Day.

On Sunday afternoon, Biden’s campaign formally changed its name to Harris for President, reflecting that she is inheriting his political operation of more than 1,000 staffers and a war chest that stood at nearly $96 million at the end of June. It got bigger by Monday morning: Campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt said Harris had raised $49.6 million in donations in the first 15 hours after Biden’s endorsement.

Harris spent much of Sunday surrounded by family and staff, making more than 100 calls to Democratic officials to line up their support for her candidacy, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort. It comes as she tries to move her party past the painful, public wrangling that had defined the weeks since Biden's disastrous June 27 debate with Trump.

Speaking to party leaders, Harris expressed gratitude for Biden's endorsement but insisted she was looking to earn the nomination in her own right, the person said.

In a sign that the Democratic Party was moving to coalesce behind her, Harris quickly won endorsements from the leadership of several influential caucuses and political organizations, including the AAPI Victory Fund, which focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, The Collective PAC, focused on building Black political power, and the Latino Victory Fund, as well as the chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the entire Congressional Black Caucus. Harris, if elected, would be the first woman and first person of South Asian descent to be president.

Notably, a handful of men who had already been discussed as potential running mates for Harris — Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly — also swiftly issued statements endorsing her. Aides to Shapiro and Cooper confirmed that Harris spoke with them Sunday afternoon. In her brief call with Cooper, the North Carolina governor told Harris he was backing her to be the Democratic nominee, according to Cooper spokeswoman Sadie Weiner.

But former President Barack Obama held off on an immediate endorsement, as some in the party have expressed worry that the quick shift to Harris would appear to be a coronation, instead pledging his support behind the eventual party nominee.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who left the party earlier this year but considered re-registering as a Democrat to vie for the nomination against the vice president, told CBS News on Monday that he would not be a candidate.

In an indication of how she will have to balance her day job and her new role as candidate, Harris made her first public appearance Monday morning at the White House, where she opened her address to National Collegiate Athletic Association championship teams by praising Biden's “unmatched” legacy, saying she was “deeply grateful for his service to our nation.”

Harris was filling in at the event for Biden, who is recovering at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware after contracting COVID-19 last week.

She was later set to travel to Wilmington, where the Biden campaign had been headquartered, to meet with her new campaign staff.

Harris, in a statement, praised Biden’s “selfless and patriotic act” in deciding to leave the race and said she intends to “earn and win” her party’s nomination.

“I will do everything in my power to unite the Democratic Party — and unite our nation — to defeat Donald Trump and his extreme Project 2025 agenda,” she said.

Biden planned to discuss his decision to step aside later this week in an address to the nation. He wrote in a letter posted Sunday to his X account, “I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term."

Nearly 30 minutes after he delivered the news that he was folding his campaign, Biden threw his support behind Harris.

“Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year,” he said in another post on X. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump.”

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to be held Aug. 19-22 in Chicago, but the party had announced it would hold a virtual roll call to formally nominate Biden before in-person proceedings begin. The convention's rules committee is scheduled to meet this week to finalize its nomination process and it is unclear how it will be adjusted to reflect Biden's exit.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairwoman Nanette Barragan, who emphasized that she was “all in” behind the vice president, said she spoke Sunday with Harris, who communicated that she preferred to forgo a virtual roll call for the nomination process and instead hold a process that adheres to regular order.

The Democratic National Committee’s chair, Jaime Harrison, said in a statement that the party would “undertake a transparent and orderly process” to select “a candidate who can defeat Donald Trump in November.”

AP writers Leah Askarinam, Maya Sweedler and Chad Day contributed.

Follow the AP's coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives to speak from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives to speak from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 22, 2024, during an event with NCAA college athletes. This is her first public appearance since President Joe Biden endorsed her to be the next presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A campaign sign with President Joe Biden's name cut out stands in Northwood, N.H., Sunday, July 21, 2024. Homeowner Tom Chase, 79, said he removed Biden's name last week and was relieved and delighted that the president withdrew from his 2024 campaign and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)

A campaign sign with President Joe Biden's name cut out stands in Northwood, N.H., Sunday, July 21, 2024. Homeowner Tom Chase, 79, said he removed Biden's name last week and was relieved and delighted that the president withdrew from his 2024 campaign and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and President Joe Biden arrive for an event in the East Room of the White House, May 9, 2024, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and President Joe Biden arrive for an event in the East Room of the White House, May 9, 2024, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill, Jan. 10, 2017, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Vice President Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

FILE - Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill, Jan. 10, 2017, in Washington. She's already broken barriers, and now Vice President Harris could soon become the first Black woman to head a major party's presidential ticket after President Joe Biden's ended his reelection bid. The 59-year-old Harris was endorsed by Biden on Sunday, July 21, after he stepped aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

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