Consumer confidence on the rise

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After two months of significant improvements, the Consumer Confidence Index is now at its highest level in eight months, according to a report released today by The Conference Board.

"While confidence is still weak by historical standards, as far as consumers are concerned, the worst is now behind us," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.

The index had improved considerably in April, and posted another large gain in May, the private research firm reported. The index now stands at 54.9, up from 40.8 in April. The Present Situation Index increased to 28.9 from 25.5 last month. The Expectations Index rose to 72.3 from 51 in April.

"Continued gains in the Present Situation Index indicate that current conditions have moderately improved, and growth in the second quarter is likely to be less negative than in the first," said Franco. "Looking ahead, consumers are considerably less pessimistic than they were earlier this year, and expectations are that business conditions, the labor market and incomes will improve in the coming months."

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