NEW YORK - The consumer confidence index declned to 64.9 in May from a downwardly revised 68.7 last month, The Conference Board reported Tuesday.
The April index was originally reported as 69.2.
The present situation index slid to 45.9 from a downwardly revised 51.2, originally reported as 51.4, while the expectations index fell to 77.6 from a downwardly revised 80.4, originally reported as 81.1.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 70.0 reading for the index.
“Consumer confidence fell in May, following a slight decline in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. “Consumers were less positive about current business and labor market conditions, and they were more pessimistic about the short-term outlook. 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.”
Business conditions were called “good” by 13.6% of respondents in May, down from 15.5% in April. Those saying conditions are “bad” rose to 34.3% from 33.2%.
The percentage of consumers expecting a pickup in business conditions in the next half year slid to 16.6% from 18.5%, while 13.1% said they expect conditions to worsen, off from 14.2% the prior month.
On the jobs front, those who believe jobs are “plentiful” fell to 7.9% in May from 8.4% in April, while the number saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 41.0% this survey from 38.1%. The respondents who see fewer jobs becoming available in a half year, increased to 21.0% from 18.4%. Those expecting more jobs to become available slipped to 15.8% from 16.9%, The Conference Board reported.
Income expectations were mixed, with 15.2% of consumers anticipating an increase in their income in the next six months, up from the prior month's 13.9%, while 14.2% expect their income to decrease, up from 14.0% in the prior month’s survey.
The number of consumers who expected to buy a home in the next six months fell to 4.4% from 4.5%, while the number of respondents planning to buy a car increased to 10.4% from 9.9%. More consumers than last month said they plan to buy a major appliance in the next six months (45.3% vs. 44.6%).
Fewer respondents than last month (43.0% vs. 44.2%) expect to take a vacation in the next six months, but more said they would stay in the U.S. rather than leave the country. Cars rather than airplanes were the preferred mode of travel, by a 22.6%-21.7% margin.
The consumer confidence survey is based on a probability design random sample by the Nielsen Company.