Consumer Confidence Softens In May
Consumer confidence slipped in May, reports the Conference Board in its latest Consumer Confidence Index, following an earlier decline in April. The index stands at 117.9, down from 119.4 in April.
"However," says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, “Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions held steady, suggesting little change in overall economic conditions. Looking ahead, consumers were somewhat less upbeat than in April, but overall remain optimistic that the economy will continue expanding into the summer months."
While consumer assessment of current conditions remained steady, the percentage saying business conditions are "good" edged down from 30.8 percent to 29.4 percent, and those describing them as "bad" was unchanged at 13.7 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market took a more positive tack. While the share of respondents stating jobs are "plentiful" declined from 30.3 percent to 29.9 percent, those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased from 19.4 percent to 18.2 percent.
The short-term outlook grew less optimistic in May, as the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 25.1 percent to 21.3 percent. As a silver lining, perhaps, the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 10.4 percent to 10.1 percent.
The labor market outlook was also mixed. The share of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined from 21.9 percent to 18.6 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 13.8 percent to 12.0 percent. Consumers’ expectations of income increases ticked up from 18.7 percent to 19.2 percent, but the proportion expecting a decrease also rose, from 7.6 percent to 8.7 percent.