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Consumer Confidence Rises in May

Consumer confidence increased in May, the third consecutive monthly gain reported by the Conference Board. Its Consumer Confidence Index is now 63.3, up from 57.7 in April.

"Although still weak by historic levels, [confidence] appears to be gaining some traction," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. Consumers reported less apprehension about current business conditions, and higher expectations. The Board's Expectations Index grew to pre-recession levels. But consumer's income expectations remained low.

However, consumers were positive about day-to-day economic conditions. Ten percent said business conditions were good, while 39.3 percent said conditions were bad, a decrease from 40 percent. More than 43 percent said jobs were "hard to get," a decrease from 44.8 percent.

Consumers who expected business conditions to improve over the next six months grew to more than 23 percent from 19.7 percent. More than 11 percent said conditions would worsen, a decrease from 12.4 percent.

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