Consumer Confidence Picks Up for Third Straight Month

       

       

NEW YORK–The consumer confidence index posted its third consecutive monthly gain in May, up 5.6 points to finish the month at 63.3.

As compiled by The Conference Board, the index benefited from increases in both of its major component indexes. The present-situation index tacked on two points to 30.2, and the expectations index improved to 85.3, up 7.9 points from April.

Lynn Franco director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, said the overall index, although still weak by historical standards, “appears to be gaining some traction.” Franco said consumers’ worries about current conditions and the job market has continued to lessen, while expectations for the future “have increased sharply over the past three months.”

Bearing this out, the percentage of consumers who rated current conditions as “good” increased while those saying conditions are bad declined. A larger percentage of consumers also said conditions should pick up over the next six months, while a reduced percentage said conditions would worsen. Consumers’ assessment over job conditions both now and down the road also gained in the May survey.

“The improvement has been fueled primarily by growing optimism about business and labor market conditions,” Franco said. “Income expectations, however, remain downbeat.”