Consumer Confidence Index gains 7.2 points in May

Heath E. Combs, May 28, 2013

NEW YORK — The Consumer Confidence Index improved for the second month in a row with a 7.2 point gain in May, the Conference Board reported today.

The index now stands at 76.2 (1985=100), up from 69.0 in April and is at a five-year high, the highest since February 2008.

The Present Situation Index increased to 66.7 from 61. The Expectations Index improved to 82.4 from 74.3 last month.

The gain marked a change to the up-and-down pattern for the year. The index rose 10 points in February and declined eight points in March before the April gain. The cutoff date for the preliminary results for this month was May 15.

"Consumers' assessment of current business and labor-market conditions was more positive and they were considerably more upbeat about future economic and job prospects," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a press release.
"Back-to-back monthly gains suggest that consumer confidence is on the mend and may be regaining the traction it lost due to the fiscal cliff, payroll-tax hike and sequester."

Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions improved in May. Those saying business conditions are "good" increased to 18.8% from 17.5%, while those stating business conditions are "bad" decreased to 26% from 27.6%.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market was more positive. Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" increased to 10.8% from 9.7%, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" edged down to 36.1% from 36.9%.

Consumers were more optimistic about the short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 19.2% from 17.2%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 12.1% from 14.8%.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also more positive. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead improved to 16.8% from 14.3%, while those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 19.7% from 21.8%.

The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase dipped slightly to 16.6% from 16.8%, while those expecting a decrease edged down to 15.3% from 15.9%.

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