A monthly measure of consumer confidence has increased on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose 1.3 points to 83 in May. Components of the index tracking consumer sentiments about current conditions as well as their expectations for the near future both increased.
“Consumer confidence improved slightly in May as consumers assessed current conditions, particularly the labor market, more favorably. Expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy, jobs and personal finances were also more upbeat,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board.
The Conference Board, a business research and membership association, bases the CCI on the results of monthly surveys of U.S. households. Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of all economic activity in the country.
For May, more optimistic assessments of current conditions pushed up the present situation component of the index nearly two points to 80.4.
The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the May index was based who characterized business conditions as “good” fell 1.1 points to 21.1 percent. But the share of those who called conditions “bad” fell seven-tenths of a point to 24.1 percent.
The proportion of consumers who said jobs are”plentiful” rose 1.1 points to 14.1 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” fell a half point to 32.3 percent.
More upbeat outlooks pushed up the expectations component of the index almost a point to 84.8.
The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up three-tenths of a point to 17.5 percent. The proportion of those who anticipate worsening conditions slipped three-tenths of a point to 10.2 percent.
The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months increased seven-tenths of a point to 15.4 percent. The proportion of those who anticipate fewer jobs increased three-tenths of a point to 18.3 percent.
The share of consumers who expect their incomes to grow over the next six months advanced 1.5 points to 18.3 percent, the highest level since December 2007. Meanwhile, 14.5 percent of consumers said they expect their incomes to drop, up 1.6 points.