Consumers are less confident about both the overall U.S. economy and technology spending than they were a month ago but are more confident on both counts than a year ago, according to the latest Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Index released Wednesday.

The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE), which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, fell 4.2 points in August to 168.7, the lowest level since May. However, the ICE is nearly nine points higher than August last year.

“Consumer sentiment around the overall economy ebbed lower in August after steady rises over the prior two months,” says Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. “The decline in sentiment over the summer months parallels the slide we saw in 2011, though not as sharply.”

Consumer confidence in technology spending also declined in August. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) fell 0.6 points to 87.5. The ICTE remained higher year-over-year and recorded its highest August level, up by 9.3 points since the CEA Index was introduced in 2007.

“It’s clear consumers remain cautious in their approach to spending as the economic recovery limps forward,” says DuBravac. “However, with the highest technology sentiment levels in August since 2007, the consumer is potentially well positioned as we move closer to the holiday season.”

The CEA Indexes comprise the ICE and ICTE, both of which are updated on a monthly basis through consumer surveys. New data is released on the fourth Tuesday of each month. CEA has been tracking index data since January 2007.

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