NEW YORK – May 29, 2018 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in May following a modest decline in April. The Index now stands at 128.0; in April, it was 125.6.
The Present Situation Index increased from 157.5 to 161.7, while the Expectations Index that gauges consumers’ expectations six months from now, improved from 104.3 to 105.6 month-to-month.
“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,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.
“Consumers’ short-term expectations improved modestly, suggesting that the pace of growth over the coming months is not likely to gain any significant momentum,” Franco adds. “Overall, confidence levels remain at historically strong levels and should continue to support solid consumer spending in the near-term.”
Current conditions Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in May. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 34.8 percent to 38.4 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 12.3 percent to 12.0 percent.
Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was somewhat mixed. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” improved from 38.2 percent to 42.4 percent, but those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also increased, rising from 15.5 percent to 15.8 percent.
Future expectations Consumers were modestly more positive about the short-term outlook in May. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased from 23.6 percent to 23.1 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen also decreased, from 9.8 percent to 8.3 percent.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.6 percent to 19.7 percent, but 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.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was May 16.