Americans reporting new-job starts fell to 49.7 from 50.5 last month, and once that figure falls below 50, it reveals that more employees are losing jobs than starting jobs, according to the Consumer Reports Index, which analyzes the number of Americans starting new jobs with those losing jobs over the last 30 days.
This marks a decline in Americans starting new jobs for a second straight month, and it is now at its lowest level in nine months, the research finds. Still, job loss numbers are higher, though only slightly at 4.6 percent from 4.4 percent.
The Consumer Reports Index's June results also show that retail spending is struggling. The Index's past 30-day retail measure has extended its fall to a fifth straight month. The measure now stands at its lowest level since Consumer Reports first measured it in April 2009 — falling to 8.9 from 10.6 percent last month, and from 12.0 percent last year at this time. Planned consumer purchasing over the next 30 days (7.0 percent), reflecting June activity, was also down from the prior month (8.3 percent) as well as a year ago (9.0 percent).
"When more than half of Americans are facing a substantial uphill climb, it would be hard to see a boost to confidence in the near team without substantial improvements in employment levels," says Ed Farrell, director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
When it comes to measuring the financial challenges of consumers, the Consumer Reports Index is now at 46.5 from 44.8 in May. Although this increase seems small, the number for households bringing in less than $50,000 is much worse at 70.4 from 57.7 during the previous month; however, households earning at least $100,000 are at 23.6.
"These trends suggest that consumers may continue to pull back their spending habits due to the uncertainty they have about the direction of the economy," Farrell says.
The research also shows that consumer sentiment fell this month to 47.5 from 50.6 during the previous month. This drop in sentiment is highest among households earning $100,000 or more, and although it is still a positive figure at 56.6, it is down from 63 from last month.