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Consumers Upbeat Heading Into Fall [AUDIO]

Consumers may splurge a bit this fall. This, as they’re beginning to feel better about the economy despite a slight dip in July. The consumer confidence index dipped to 80.3 in July, down from 82.1 in June, but numbers are still close to a five-and-a-half year high.

Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

“We had a big run up in terms of the overall confidence and especially in terms of expectations through the late winter, early spring and even into the summer. The fact that we were able to hold onto most of that sets up consumer confidence to be really strong going into the second half of the year,” said Economist Ken Goldstein of the Conference Board in New York. “Most of that improvement really shows up in the south and western parts of the United States and less so in the Northeast.”

When broken down by income group, there’s improvement being shown even among lower income consumers.

“You would think the upper income folks are feeling good largely because of where the stock market is, but even if you look at folks who make $25,000 a year and less, we’ve seen improvement across the whole country. That sets us up with consumers feeling this is what we were expecting, this is what we were waiting for for four years,” said Goldstein. “Consumers who’ve been waiting to replace that old refrigerator, that old tv or that old sofa may finally buy them.”

“Unless the other shoe hits the floor, God forbid we get hit with another Sandy, but unless we get something like that, it’s not necessarily going to be a great second half of the year, but it is definitely going to be a better second half of the year when it comes to consumer spending and people releasing some of that pent up demand,” said Goldstein. “It is better now than it was six months ago and than it was twelve months ago. The expectation is that it’s going to get even better over the next six months to a year.”

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