Consumer confidence inches up in May

A shopper carries a Giorgio Armani SpA Armani Exchange bag
Sam Hodgson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A shopper carries a Giorgio Armani SpA Armani Exchange bag

U.S. consumers were a little more optimistic about the economy in May, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 95.4 in May, though the number missed estimates. Economists polled by Reuters expected a reading of 96.1. April's reading was revised lower to 94.3 from 95.2.

Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook was mixed in May, however. Consumers who said business conditions are "good" fell to 25.2 percent from 25.5 percent, while those claiming conditions are "bad" also decreased from 19.2 percent to 17.4 percent.

The reading on jobs was also mixed. Those who said there were a lot of jobs increased to 20.7 percent from 19 percent. However, those who claimed jobs are "hard to get" rose to 27.3 percent from 25.9 percent.

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"Consumer confidence improved modestly in May, after declining sharply in April," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the group.

"After a three-month slide, the Present Situation Index increased, propelled by a more positive assessment of the labor market. Expectations, however, were relatively flat following a steep decline in April. While current conditions in the second quarter appear to be improving, consumers still remain cautious about the short-term outlook."

The monthly consumer confidence survey is conducted by Nielsen for The Conference Board.