Surveys

Consumer Confidence Slips in May Amid Uncertainty

SurveysJun 08, 2023

Consumer Confidence Slips in May Amid Uncertainty

Consumers over the age of 55 were particularly pessimistic about the economic outlook.

A hand holding shopping bags
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 102.3 in May from 103.7 in April.
New York—U.S. consumer confidence declined in May amid pessimistic views of the current and future economic situation.
 
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 102.3 in May from an upwardly revised 103.7 in April.
 
“Consumer confidence declined in May as consumers’ view of current conditions became somewhat less upbeat while their expectations remained gloomy,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economics at The Conference Board. 
 
“While consumer confidence has fallen across all age and income categories over the past three months, May’s decline reflects a particularly notable worsening in the outlook among consumers over 55 years of age,” he added.
 
The Present Situation Index, which measures consumers’ outlook on current business and labor market conditions, fell to 148.6 from 151.8 in April.
 
The percentage of respondents who said current business conditions are “good” was up to 20 percent from 19 percent in April, while those who said conditions were “bad” decreased, down to 17 percent from 18 percent.
 
Consumers had a more negative view of the labor market.
 
“[Consumers’] assessment of current employment conditions saw the most significant deterioration,” said Ozyildirim, with 44 percent of respondents saying jobs are “plentiful,” down from 48 percent in the prior period.
 
The percentage of respondents who felt jobs were “hard to get” was up to 13 percent from 11 percent in April.
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, slipped to 71.5 from 71.7.
 
The Expectations Index has remained below 80—the level associated with a recession within the next year—every month since February 2022, with the exception of a brief uptick in December 2022, according to the Conference Board.
 
Consumers were pessimistic about the short-term business conditions outlook, with 13 percent expecting business conditions to improve, down from 14 percent in April.
 
However, fewer respondents expect business conditions to worsen—20.6 percent compared with 21.4 percent.
 
Consumers’ view of the short-term labor market was mixed, but slightly more upbeat.
 
Fewer respondents expect more jobs to be available, down to 13.6 from 14.3 percent. 
 
However, 20 percent expect there to be fewer jobs, down from 21 percent.
 
Consumers’ short-term income expectations were also slightly more optimistic.
 
More respondents expect to see their incomes increase, up to 18 percent from 17 percent, while 12 percent expect their incomes to decrease, the same as April.
 
The consumer confidence stats for June will be available June 27.
 

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