Conference Board May index remains historically strong

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The consumer confidence index increased to 128.0 in May from a revised 125.6 last month, The Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The April index was originally reported as 128.7.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted a 128.0 reading for the index.

The present situation index grew to 161.7 from a revised 157.5, first reported as 159.6, while the expectations index rose to 105.6 from a revised 104.3, first reported as 108.1.

“Consumer confidence increased in May after a modest decline in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions increased to a 17-year high (March 2001, 167.5), suggesting that the level of economic growth in Q2 is likely to have improved from Q1. 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.”

Business conditions were called “good” by 38.4% of respondents in May, up from 34.8% of respondents in April. Those saying conditions are “bad” fell to 12.0% from 12.3%.

The percentage of consumers expecting a pickup in business conditions in the next half year slid to 23.1% from 23.6%, while 8.3% said they expect conditions to worsen, down from 9.8% in the prior month.

On the jobs front, those who believe jobs are “plentiful” increased to 42.4% from 38.2% in last month, while the number saying jobs are “hard to get” gained to 15.8% from 15.5%. The respondents who see fewer jobs becoming available in a half year, rose to 13.9% from 13.2%. Those expecting more jobs to become available grew to 19.7% from 18.6%, The Conference Board reported.

The consumer confidence survey is based on a probability design random sample by the Nielsen Company.

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