The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in April, bounced back in May. The Index now stands at 102.2 (1985=100), up from 97.5 in April. The Present Situation Index increased to 116.7 from 113.8. The Expectations Index improved to 92.5 from 86.7.
“Consumer confidence improved in May, gaining back nearly all of the ground it lost in April,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “The Present Situation Index, despite fluctuations in recent months, is more than 26 points higher than a year ago. Consumers’ concerns about the economy and jobs have eased. The Expectations Index, while slightly below year-ago levels, continues to signal economic growth in the months ahead.”
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more positive in May than in April. Those claiming business conditions are “bad” edged down to 16.8% from 17.6%. Those claiming conditions are “good” was virtually unchanged at 26.5%. The employment picture was mixed. Consumers saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 24.2% from 22.9%, but those claiming jobs are “plentiful” rose to 22.6% from 20.4%.
Consumers’ expectations for the next six months, which had been losing ground since January, reversed course in May. Those anticipating business conditions to improve increased to 18.6% from 17.7%, while consumers expecting business conditions to worsen slid to 9.5% from 9.9%.
The outlook for the labor market was also brighter in May. Those expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months edged up to 14.9% from 14%, while those expecting fewer jobs declined to 15.9% from 18.4%. The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes to improve in the months ahead rose to 17.2% from 16.8%.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS NFO. TNS NFO. The cutoff date for May’s preliminary results was May 23.