The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in April, increased moderately in May. The index now stands at 95.4 (1985=100), up from 94.3 in April. The Present Situation Index increased from 105.1 in April to 108.1 in May. The Expectations Index edged down to 86.9 from 87.1 in April.
Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook edged down in May. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months inched up from 15.4% to 15.6%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen also increased, from 9.1% to 10.8%.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market, however, improved. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased from 13.8% to 14.6%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 16.4% to 15.5%. The proportion of consumers expecting growth in their incomes was unchanged at 17.4%, while the proportion expecting a decline increased slightly from 10.8% to 11.1%.
Consumers’ assessment of current-day conditions improved in May. Those saying business conditions are “good” edged down from 25.5% to 25.2%. However, those claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased from 19.2% to 17.4%. Consumers were mixed in their assessment of the job market. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased from 19.0% to 20.7%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 25.9% to 27.3%.
“Consumer confidence improved modestly in May, after declining sharply in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “After a three-month slide, the Present Situation Index increased, propelled by a more positive assessment of the labor market. Expectations, however, were relatively flat following a steep decline in April. While current conditions in the second quarter appear to be improving, consumers still remain cautious about the short-term outlook,” Franco said.
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 15.