Index: Consumers feeling less confident

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has declined for a second straight month on less upbeat assessments for present and future business and labor conditions.

The Confidence Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) fell nearly four points to 64.9 in May. The index slipped nearly a point in April.

“Consumers were less positive about current business and labor conditions and they were more pessimistic about the short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, a business research and membership group. “However, consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, which should help sustain spending.”

“Taken together, the retreat in the Present Situation Index and softening in consumer expectations suggest that the pace of economic growth in the months ahead may moderate,” Franco added.

The Conference Board bases the CCI on the results of monthly surveys. Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of all economic activity in the country.

Consumer assessments of current conditions pulled down the Present Situation component of the CCI more than five points to 45.9.

The share of consumers responding to the survey upon which the May CCI was based who described business conditions as “good” dropped nearly two points to 13.6 percent. The proportion of those who said business conditions are “bad” rose more than a point to 34.3 percent.

The share of those who said jobs are “plentiful” slipped a half point to 7.9 percent, while the proportion of those who said jobs are “hard to get” increased nearly three points to 41 percent.

A less upbeat outlook about business and labor conditions over the next six months pulled down the Expectations component of the CCI nearly three points to 77.6.

The proportion of consumers who expect business conditions to improve fell almost two points to 16.6 percent, although the share of those who anticipate worsening conditions fell more than a point to 13.1 percent.

The proportion of those who expect more jobs to become available in coming months fell more than a point to 15.8 percent, while the share of those who believe there will be fewer job openings climbed nearly three points to 21 percent.

Consumers were slightly more upbeat in terms of their incomes — 15.2 percent expect their incomes to increase, up from 13.9 percent in April.