US consumer confidence slips from recent highs

WASHINGTON - US consumer confidence slipped in May after hitting a near four-year high in April, the Conference Board said on Tuesday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 30 May 2006, 10:45 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:16 PM

The business research group said its consumer confidence index fell to 103.2 in May from a revised 109.8 in April.

The decline was not as large as forecast. Economists expected the index to slip to 101 from the initial reading of 109.6 in April.

Two other indexes used in the survey also fell. The present situation index fell to 132.5 from 136.2. The expectations index fell to 83.7 from 92.3, its lowest level since October.

“Apprehension about the short-term outlook for the economy, the labor market and consumers’ earning potential has driven the expectations index down to levels not seen since the aftermath of the hurricanes last summer,” said Lynn Franco, director of research for the Conference Board.

“In sharp contrast, consumers continue to rate current conditions favorably, although the present situation index also lost ground this month. Looking ahead, the expectations index bears close watching, as it is often a harbinger of times to come.”

The index is based on a survey of 5,000 US households by research firm TNS. The cutoff date for May’s preliminary results was on May 23.

Consumers’ overall assessment of current conditions eased but remains favorable, the Conference Board said.

Consumers claiming conditions are “good” declined to 28.0 per cent from 29.7 per cent while those claiming conditions are “bad” edged up to 15.4 per cent from 15.1 per cent.

As far as the outlook for jobs, those saying jobs are ”plentiful” decreased to 28.6 per cent from 29.4 per cent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased to 20.5 per cent from 19.7 per cent.

Those expecting business conditions to worsen in the coming months increased to 13.2 per cent from 9.3 per cent. Those expecting business conditions to improve decreased to 16.5 per cent from 17.3 per cent.

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