The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index™, which had improved considerably in April, posted another large gain in May. The Index now stands at 54.9 (1985=100), 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 51.0 in April.
The Consumer Confidence Survey™ is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world's largest custom research company. The cutoff date for May's preliminary results was May 19th.
Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: "After two months of significant improvements, the Consumer Confidence Index is now at its highest level in eight months (Sept. 2008, 61.4). 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. 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. While confidence is still weak by historical standards, as far as consumers are concerned, the worst is now behind us."
Here is a chart of the data:
The chart shows a big jump -- although we are still at incredibly low levels. The big question is why? Personally, I think a lot of it is political. Now -- before everybody jumps on the "your full of it" line of attack, consider these two graphs from Pollster.com
Last years election was a nadir of sentiment. People were extremely dissatisfied with the direction the country was taking. Since the election the percentage of people who are happier/more positive about the direction of the country has increased. In addition, the number of people who think the country is on the right track has increased and the number of people who think the country is on the wrong track has decreased. That's what the data says.