The Consumer Confidence Index, released by the Conference Board, declined in May but still remained relatively high. Consumers’ assessments of current conditions were barely changed, but consumers were less optimistic about the near term outlook than in April.
The Consumer Confidence Index declined slightly to 117.9 in May, from 119.4 in April. The present situation index rose from 140.3 to 140.7 and the expectations index decreased from 105.4 to 102.6.
Consumers were less optimistic about current business conditions than in April. The share of respondents reporting business conditions “good” decreased by 1.4 percentage points from 30.8% to 29.4%, offset by the net increase in the share of respondents reporting business conditions “normal” (1.4 percentage points). The share of respondents reporting business conditions “bad” was unchanged.
Expectations of business conditions over the next six months softened. The share of respondents expecting future business conditions to be the same increased by 4.1 percentage points from 64.5% to 68.6%, with the net gain coming from the net declines in the shares of respondents expecting business conditions to be better (3.8 percentage points) and worsen to (0.3 percentage point).
Consumers’ assessments of current employment conditions were mixed. The share of respondents reporting that jobs were “not so plentiful” increased from 50.3% to 51.9%, while assessments of “jobs plentiful” decreased by 0.4 percentage point and “jobs hard to get” declined by 1.2 percentage points.
Expectations of employment over the next six months were also mixed. The share of respondents expecting “same jobs” in the coming six months rose by 5.1 percentage points from 64.3% to 69.4%, while expectations of “fewer jobs” and “more jobs” dropped by 1.8 percentage points and 3.3 percentage points, respectively.
The Conference Board also reported the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months. There were 5.8% of respondents planning to buy a home in May, compared with 6.4% in April. Despite the monthly volatility, the trend in the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months has been climbing.