U.S. consumer confidence declines slightly in May

Consumer confidence fell slightly in May as consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook decreased, though their appraisal of current conditions held steady, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® decreased to 117.9, down from 119.4 in April. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a crucial part of a strong rebound.

The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are "good" declined slightly from 30.8 percent to 29.4 percent, but those saying business conditions are "bad" was unchanged at 13.7 percent. Consumers' assessment of the labor market also remained positive. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" declined marginally from 30.3 percent to 29.9 percent, and those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased from 19.4 percent to 18.2 percent.

Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months decreased from 25.1 percent to 21.3 percent; however, those expecting business conditions to worsen declined marginally from 10.4 percent to 10.1 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was mixed. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined from 21.9 percent to 18.6 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 13.8 percent to 12 percent.

"Consumer confidence decreased slightly in May, following a moderate decline in April," says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "However, consumers' assessment of present-day conditions held steady, suggesting little change in overall economic conditions. Looking ahead, consumers were somewhat less upbeat than in April but overall remain optimistic that the economy will continue expanding into the summer months."

Date : 5/30/2017