Consumer Confidence Hits 5-Year High

Consumer confidence is up 10% for the second month in a row, according to the Conference Board's May Consumer Confidence report released today.

After a 12.2% drop in March, the newest numbers solidify April's 10% gains. At an index rating of 76.2, analysts' expectations were exceeded by 4.7 points, but confidence still remains well below the index's 1985 100-point benchmark.

"Consumer Confidence posted another gain this month and is now at a five-year high," said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco in a statement today. "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."

The index is comprised of responses from a random sample of consumers and, in this latest report, respondents were more optimistic on (almost) every economic indicator. 18.8% of those surveyed believe business conditions are good, up 1.3 percentage points from April. Likewise, 10.8% believe jobs are plentiful (up from 9.7%) and 19.2% (up from 17.2%) expect business conditions to improve over the next six months.

Income predictions provided a mixed picture, with fewer respondents expecting their income to rise (down 0.2 percentage points to 16.6%), although those expecting their incomes to drop also fell 0.6 points to 15.3%. 

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