Money & The Economy

Consumer Confidence up in May

Consumer confidence, as measured by The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, increased in May, following a modest decline in April (after a downward revision). The Index now stands at 128.0 (1985=100), up from 125.6 in April. The Present Situation Index increased from 157.5 to 161.7, while the Expectations Index improved from 104.3 last month to 105.6 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was May 16.

“Consumer confidence increased in May after a modest decline in April,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions increased to a 17-year high (March 2001, 167.5), suggesting that the level of economic growth in Q2 is likely to have improved from Q1. Consumers’ short-term expectations improved modestly, suggesting that the pace of growth over the coming months is not likely to gain any significant momentum. Overall, confidence levels remain at historically strong levels and should continue to support solid consumer spending in the near-term.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in May. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 34.8 percent to 38.4 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 12.3 percent to 12.0 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was somewhat mixed. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” improved from 38.2 percent to 42.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also increased, from 15.5 percent to 15.8 percent.

Consumers were modestly more positive about the short-term outlook in May. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased from 23.6 percent to 23.1 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen also decreased, from 9.8 percent to 8.3 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.6 percent to 19.7 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs also increased, from 13.2 percent to 13.9 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined, from 21.8 percent to 21.3 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease rose from 7.9 percent to 8.2 percent.

Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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