US consumer confidence perks up; rising COVID-19 cases cast shadow over recovery

US consumer confidence perks up; rising COVID-19 cases cast shadow over recovery

U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in June as businesses reopened, strengthening views that the economic downturn was likely over, though rising COVID-19 infections threaten to derail the budding recovery. WASHINGTON: U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in June as businesses reopened, strengthening views that the economic downturn was likely over, though rising COVID-19 infections threaten to derail the budding recovery. The survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday followed a sharp surge in hiring and consumer spending in May. The housing market and manufacturing have also improved. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Monday acknowledged the rebound in activity, saying the economy had "entered an important new phase and (had) done so sooner than expected." In remarks prepared for a congressional hearing on Tuesday, the U.S. central bank chief cautioned that the economic outlook "is extraordinarily uncertain" and would depend on "our success in containing the virus." The economy slipped into recession in February. Businesses have largely reopened after being shuttered in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Large parts of the country, including densely populated California, Texas and Florida have reported a surge in cases of the respiratory illness. Some states are scaling back or pausing business reopenings. "The long road to normalcy is miles and miles away and the journey is a hazardous one as already a second wave of the pandemic virus has made some states backtrack on their reopening plans," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose ...
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