U.S. consumer confidence rises in May

Consumer confidence increased in May as consumers became more optimistic about current economic conditions, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 76.2 in May from 69 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 critical part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months rose to 19.2 percent from 17.2 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 14.8 percent to 12.1 percent.

Additionally, 16.8 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 14.3 percent in April. Those expecting fewer jobs decreased from 21.8 percent to 19.7 percent.

"Consumer confidence posted another gain this month and now is at a five-year high," says Lynn Franco, The Conference Board's director of economic indicators. "Consumers' assessment of current business and labor-market conditions was more positive, and they were considerably more upbeat about future economic and job prospects. Back-to-back monthly gains suggest consumer confidence is on the mend and may be regaining the traction it lost because of the fiscal cliff, payroll-tax hike and sequester."

Date : 6/10/2013