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Consumer confidence hits five-year high

Consumer confidence hit a five-year high in May, The Conference Board reported today.

The New York-based private research group said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 76.2, up from 69 in April.

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor-market conditions was more positive and they were considerably more upbeat about future economic and job prospects,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “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.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in May. Those who said business conditions are “good” increased to 18.8 percent from 17.5 percent and those who said business conditions are “bad” decreased to 26 percent from 27.6 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those who said jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.8 percent from 9.7 percent and those who said jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 36.1 percent from 36.9 percent.

Consumers were considerably more optimistic about the short-term outlook. Those who expect business conditions to improve during the next six months increased to 19.2 percent from 17.2 percent, and those who expect business conditions to worsen decreased to 12.1 percent from 14.8 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more upbeat. Those who expect more jobs in the months ahead improved to 16.8 percent from 14.3 percent, and those who expect fewer jobs decreased to 19.7 percent from 21.8 percent. The proportion of consumers who expect their income to increase dipped slightly, to 16.6 percent, from 16.8 percent, and those who expect a decrease edged down to 15.3 percent from 15.9 percent.

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