Home sales may have improved in recent months, but consumer confidence remains in the doldrums.

U.S. consumer confidence hovered at a seven-month low last week as uncertain economic conditions and rising gas prices strained household budgets, Bloomberg said in its latest Consumer Comfort Index.

The index, which measures how comfortable consumers are with today’s economic conditions, improved slightly from an index score of ‘-47.4’ to ‘-47.3’ for the week ending Aug. 26.

The move is slight and shows consumers overwhelmingly cautious due to unemployment remaining above 8% and household budgets still constrained.

The minimal gain halted a six-week decline in consumer confidence, but it’s not enough to significantly improve consumer sentiment.

“Strained household balance sheets, a soggy economy and a sluggish labor market are the probable causes behind the sharply negative view,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg. “Based on the deterioration among different demographic groups and the decline in economic expectations, household spending is likely to remain on a sub 2% track for the remainder of this year.”


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