US Consumer Confidence Falls In May
05/29/2012| 10:46am US/Eastern
NEW YORK -- U.S. consumers in May were less confident as their views on labor conditions deteriorated, according to a report released Tuesday.
The Conference Board, a private research group, said its index of consumer confidence dropped to 64.9 this month from a revised 68.7 in April, first reported as 69.2.
Confidence has fallen for three consecutive months. The latest index was below the 70.3 expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.
The drop contrasts with last week's report on the Thomson Reuters-University of Michigan sentiment report that showed U.S. consumers feeling more optimistic at the end of May.
Within the Conference Board's report, the present situation index, a gauge of consumers' assessment of current economic conditions, dropped sharply to 45.9 from a revised 51.2 first reported as 51.4. The May present situation index was the lowest reading since January.
Consumer expectations for economic activity over the next six months fell to 77.6 from a revised 80.4, originally reported as 81.1.
"Consumers were less positive about current business and labor market conditions," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. But she noted income prospects improved, "which should help sustain spending."
Views on the labor markets deteriorated this month. The board's survey showed 7.9% of respondents think jobs now are "plentiful," down from 8.4% thinking that in April. Another 41.0% think jobs are "hard to get," up from 38.1% last month.
Consumers are also concerned about the job situation over the next six months. The report shows only 15.8% think there will be more jobs, down from 16.9% thinking that in April, while 21.0% think there will be fewer jobs, up from 18.4%.
-By Kathleen Madigan, Dow Jones Newswires, 212 416 2466, email@example.com