PhotoThe Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rebounded from its April decline.

After dipping to 81.7 last month, the Index now stands at 83.0. Both the Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index posted increases.

“Consumer confidence improved slightly in May, as consumers assessed current conditions, in particular the labor market, more favorably,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy, jobs, and personal finances were also more upbeat. In fact, the percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to grow over the next six months is the highest since December 2007 (20.2%). Thus, despite last month’s decline, consumers’ confidence appears to be growing.”

The situation now

Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved in May. Those who said business conditions are “good” dropped to 21.1% from 22.2%, while those who think they are “bad” declined to 24.1% from 24.8%.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was more favorable. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” rose to 14.1% from 13.0%, while those who believe jobs are “hard to get” dipped to 32.3% from 32.8%.

Looking ahead

Consumers’ expectations increased slightly in May.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up to 17.5% from 17.2%, while those looking for business conditions to worsen slipped to 10.2% from 10.5%.

Consumers were more positive about the outlook for the labor market.

Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 15.4% from 14.7%, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged up to 18.3% from 18.0%.

The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to grow increased to 18.3% from 16.8%, but those expecting a drop in their incomes also increased -- to 14.5% from 12.9%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was May 14.

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