Consumer confidence remains at ‘historically strong’ levels

Consumer confidence bounced back in May after a slight decline in April.

The Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 128.0, up from 125.6 in April, according to The Confidence Board. The “present situation” index increased from 157.5 to 161.7, while the “expectations” index improved from 104.3 last month to 105.6 this month.

“Consumer confidence increased in May after a modest decline in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ short-term expectations improved modestly, suggesting that the pace of growth over the coming months is not likely to gain any significant momentum. Overall, confidence levels remain at historically strong levels and should continue to support solid consumer spending in the near-term.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in May. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 34.8% to 38.4%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 12.3% to 12.0.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was somewhat mixed. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” improved from 38.2% to 42.4%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also increased, from 15.5% to 15.8%.

Consumers were modestly more positive about the short-term outlook in May. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased from 23.6% to 23.1%, while those expecting business conditions will worsen also decreased, from 9.8% to 8.3%.

Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined, from 21.8% to 21.3%, while the proportion expecting a decrease rose from 7.9% to 8.2%.