United States: Consumer confidence remains in the doldrums in May
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index ticked up slightly to 86.6 in May from 85.7 in April. Consequently, the index treaded well below the 100-threshold that separates pessimism from optimism. May’s result came in a tad below market expectations of 86.8 and remained close to levels of confidence not seen since mid-2014 when households were still recovering from the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
American households’ assessment of the current state of the economy declined slightly, but households were moderately more confident about the short-term outlook. Consumers’ prospects for the labor market were mixed in May, as those who expect more jobs on the horizon declined in tandem with those who expect fewer employment opportunities.
Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, noted:
“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. […] 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.”