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FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, a customer leaves a Pier 1 retail store, which is going out of business, during the coronavirus pandemic in Coral Gables, Fla. The number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago, yet still remains at a high level. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

US consumer confidence up slightly in July

FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, a customer leaves a Pier 1 retail store, which is going out of business, during the coronavirus pandemic in Coral Gables, Fla. The number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago, yet still remains at a high level. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

US consumer confidence was largely unchanged between June and July, holding to the lofty heights that were last seen near the beginning of 2020, just before the novel coronavirus pandemic throttled the US and global economies.

The Conference Board reported yesterday that its consumer confidence index inched up in July to 129.1, just above last month’s reading of 128.9. It’s the sixth-straight month that the measurement has risen.

 Shoppers wait in line outside a Chicago downtown retail store as others pass by, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Fueled by vaccinations and government aid, the US economy grew at a solid 6.5% annual rate last quarter in another sign that the nation has achieved a sustained recovery from the pandemic recession. (Photo: AP/Shafkat Anowar, File)

The appraisal of current business conditions among Americans ticked up slightly to 160.3 from 159.6 in June. Short-term expectations came in at 108.4, down from 108.5 last month.

Consumer spending makes up about 70 per cent of all economic activity in the US, so economists pay close attention to the numbers for a better idea of what’s to come for the national economy.