U.S. Consumer Confidence Rebounds in May Following Slight Decline in April

Overall, confidence levels remain at historically strong levels and should continue to support solid consumer spending in the near-term

U.S. Consumer Confidence Retreats Slightly in March Following 18-Year High Seen in February
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May 30, 2018

Following a modest decline in April, U.S. consumer confidence regained some ground in May.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 128.0, up from the 125.6 seen in April.

How are consumers feeling?

Consumers' assessment of current conditions improved in May. Those claiming that business conditions are "good" increased from 34.8 percent to 38.4 percent, while those claiming that business conditions are "bad" decreased from 12.3 percent to 12.0 percent.

Labor Market

Consumers' assessment of the labor market was somewhat mixed in May. The percentage of consumers stating that jobs are "plentiful" improved from 38.2 percent to 42.4 percent, while those claiming that jobs are "hard to get" also increased, from 15.5 percent to 15.8 percent.

The Short-Term OUtlook

Consumers were modestly more positive about the short-term economic outlook in May. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 23.6 percent to 23.1 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen also decreased, from 9.8 percent to 8.3 percent.

Job Prospects

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was mixed in May. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.6 percent to 19.7 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs also increased, from 13.2 percent to 13.9 percent.

Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined, from 21.8 percent to 21.3 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease rose from 7.9 percent to 8.2 percent.

What's next?

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, says that, overall, consumer expectations remain quite favorable and continued growth in confidence is expected.

"Consumer confidence increased in May after a modest decline in April," said Franco. "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."

About the Consumer Confidence Survey

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.