Industry News

Consumer confidence improves

Many still 'cautious' about gas prices, jobs

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Despite record-high gas prices, consumer confidence brightened in May, The Conference Board reported today. The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 108 this month from 106.3 in April, mostly because current-day business conditions seem better, but the outlook for the rest of the year is still uncertain. "The bounce-back in confidence was due primarily to a more upbeat assessment of present-day business conditions," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. "Consumers' view of the job market, both present and six months from now, was little changed and did not provide a boost in confidence. The short-term outlook remains cautious, and rising gasoline prices are having a negative impact on consumers' inflation expectations. All in all, confidence levels continue to suggest growth, albeit at a slow pace." Although the percentage of consumers claiming conditions right now are "good" rose to 29.4 percent this month from 27.5 perce...