The Consumer Confidence Index, which had previously decreased in April, fell again in May, The Conference Board announced Tuesday. But U.S. consumers remain optimistic on the whole.
The index now stands at 117.9, down from its April reading, the group said. Economists were expecting the index to drop slightly to 119.8 for the month of May, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.
The Consumer Confidence Index last fell to 120.3 in April after hitting 125.6 in March, its highest level since December 2000.
“Consumer confidence decreased slightly in May, following a moderate decline in April,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.
“However, consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions held steady, suggesting little change in overall economic conditions. Looking ahead, consumers were somewhat less upbeat than in April, but overall remain optimistic that the economy will continue expanding into the summer months.”
Economists closely monitor the mood of consumers because their spending makes up about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
Those individuals saying business conditions are “good” edged down from 30.8 percent to 29.4 percent in May, but those saying business conditions are “bad” was unchanged at 13.7 percent, The Conference Board said.
Further, consumers’ assessment of the labor market remained mostly positive, with those persons claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreasing from 19.4 percent to 18.2 percent.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in April, its best showing since December.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for these preliminary results was May 18.