The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which decreased in April, declined further in May. The index now stands at 92.6 (1985=100), down from 94.7 in April. The Present Situation Index decreased from 117.1 to 112.9, while the Expectations Index declined from 79.7 to 79.0 in May.  

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions weakened in May. The percentage stating business conditions are “good” improved from 24.2% to 25.9%.

However, those saying business conditions are “bad” also increased, from 18.2% to 21.6%. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was less favorable. The proportion claiming jobs are “plentiful” was virtually unchanged at 24.3%; however, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased from 22.8% to 24.4%.

Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term outlook than last month. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 13.8% to 15.1%, but those expecting business conditions to worsen also rose, from 10.8% to 11.6%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was less favorable. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 12.8%, but those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 16.7% to 18.1%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase improved from 15.8% to 16.2%, while the proportion expecting a reduction in income remained steady at 12.4%.

“Consumer confidence declined slightly in May, primarily due to consumers rating current conditions less favorably than in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Expectations declined further, as consumers remain cautious about the outlook for business and labor market conditions. Thus, they continue to expect little change in economic activity in the months ahead.”

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 19.