Consumer confidence increases in May

The confidence index, as measured by the New York City-based Conference Board, reached its highest point since February 2008.

The Consumer Confidence Index rose to a reading of 76.2 in May, up from 69.0 in April. 

It was the second straight month of gains for the widely watched macroeconomic metric, and the highest reading since February 2008, when the index hit 76.4. 

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. 

A year ago, Consumer Confidence stood at 64.4.

“Consumer Confidence posted another gain this month and is now at a five-year high,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “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 that consumer confidence is on the mend and may be regaining the traction it lost due to the fiscal cliff, payroll-tax hike, and sequester.” 

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in May. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased to 18.8% from 17.5%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” decreased to 26.0% from 27.6%. 

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.8% from 9.7%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 36.1% from 36.9%. 

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