The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased in April, improved moderately in May. The index now stands at 83.0 (1985=100), up from 81.7 in April. The Present Situation Index increased to 80.4 from 78.5, while the Expectations Index edged up to 84.8 from 83.9 in April.
Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions also improved in May. Those stating business conditions are “good” decreased to 21.1% from 22.2%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” declined to 24.1% from 24.8%.
Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was more favorable. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” rose to 14.1% from 13.0%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly to 32.3% from 32.8%. Consumers’ expectations increased slightly in May. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up to 17.5% from 17.2%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased marginally to 10.2% from 10.5%.
Consumers were more positive about the outlook for the labor market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 15.4% from 14.7%, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged up to 18.3% from 18.0%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to grow increased to 18.3% from 16.8%, but those expecting a drop in their incomes also increased, to 14.5% from 12.9%.
“Consumer confidence improved slightly in May, as consumers assessed current conditions, in particular the labor market, more favorably,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy, jobs and personal finances were also more upbeat. In fact, the percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to grow over the next six months is the highest since December 2007 (20.2%). Thus, despite last month’s decline, consumers’ confidence appears to be growing.”
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 14.