U.S. consumer confidence falls

Consumer confidence dropped to a six-month low in May, reflecting the effects of high gas prices, persistent unemployment and a stagnant housing market, according to www.msnbc.com.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell from 66 in April to 60.8 in May; economists expected an increase to 67. 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 critical part of a strong rebound.

"Consumers are considerably more apprehensive about future business and labor market conditions, as well as their income prospects," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

However, economists expect consumer confidence to grow in June to reflect the currently falling gas prices.

Date : 6/1/2011