Massachusetts consumer confidence drops sharply, Mass Insight says

The Massachusetts Consumer Confidence Index posted a reading of 80 in July, down from an April reading of 87, as consumers fretted about rising mortgage rates, an increase in the state’s unemployment rate, and ongoing reports of a weak economic recovery, Mass Insight said Tuesday.

Massachusetts consumer confidence was in line national consumer confidence, which was pegged at 80 points in July, added Mass Insight, a Boston-based firm that organizes public-private initiatives on competitive issues affecting Massachusetts.

In a statement, Mass Insight chairman and chief executive William H. Guenther said, “It’s not surprising that confidence is down as consumers are hearing a drumbeat of concerning news with interest and mortgage rates rising, markets dropping, and continued reports of a weak recovery.”

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The Massachusetts Index is modeled on the national Conference Board Index, Mass Insight said. The Conference Board index is scaled to a 1985 base of 100 and varies above and below 100.

The Massachusetts Index is a quarterly survey, and its readings are based on interviews conducted for Mass Insight by Opinion Dynamics Corp. To determine the index’s most recent reading, 450 adult residents of Massachusetts were interviewed by phone.