Consumer Confidence Index shows little change

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Consumer Confidence Index shows little change

By HBSDealer Staff - 05/26/2020
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index held steady in May, following a sharp decline in April. The Index now stands at 86.6 (1985=100), up from 85.7 in April. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – declined from 73.0 to 71.1. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – improved from 94.3 in April to 96.9 this month.

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“Following two months of rapid decline, the free-fall in Confidence stopped in May,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The severe and widespread impact of COVID-19 has been mostly reflected in the Present Situation Index, which has plummeted nearly 100 points since the onset of the pandemic. Short-term expectations moderately increased as the gradual re-opening of the economy helped improve consumers’ spirits. However, consumers remain concerned about their financial prospects. In addition, inflation expectations continue to climb, which could lead to a sense of diminished purchasing power and curtail spending. While the decline in confidence appears to have stopped for the moment, the uneven path to recovery and potential second wave are likely to keep a cloud of uncertainty hanging over consumers’ heads.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined further in May. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” decreased from 19.9 percent to 16.3 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased from 45.3% to 52.1%. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was mixed. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 18.8 percent to 17.4%, however those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 34.5% to 27.8%.

Consumers, however, were moderately more optimistic about the short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 39.8% to 43.3%, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased, from 25.1% to 21.4%.