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Consumer confidence low, but rising

  |   July 31, 2012 at 10:32 PM
NEW YORK, July 31 (UPI) -- Consumer confidence in the United States rose in July after five months of declines, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The index, which assigns 1985 a base value of 100, rose from 62.7 to 65.9, the Conference Board said.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Index is based on a survey of 5,000 households.

Despite the gain, after five years of prolonged recession and sluggish recovery, consumer confidence is near "historically low levels," said Lynn Franco, director of the board's Consumer Research Center.

"Consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term business and employment prospects, [however], they have grown more pessimistic about their earnings," Franco said. "Given the current economic environment -- in particular the weak labor market -- consumer confidence is not likely to gain any significant momentum in the coming months."

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters President Barack Obama isn't satisfied with the economy and "knows that the American people, by and large, are not satisfied with where the economy is."

"And that's why he's doing everything he can, and he is urging Congress to do everything it can, to take action to help the economy grow faster and to help it create more jobs," Carney said. "We're in a situation now where Congress is about to leave town. The House should act to pass the tax cuts for the middle class -- 98 percent of American taxpayers -- and do what everyone in Washington agrees should be done, which is to extend those tax cuts, pass that law, the president will sign it, and it will create certainty for 98 percent of the American people.

"It will give the economy certainty and it will help the economy grow faster and create more jobs."

Carney said Congress should pass legislation to rebuild the nation's roads and bridges, an idea he said has bipartisan support.

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