Consumer confidence strongest in over five years in May

NEW YORK Tue May 28, 2013 11:22am EDT

1 of 2. People shop at high-end retail stores along 5th Avenue in New York in this file photo taken May 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer/Files

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer confidence strengthened in May to the highest level in more than five years, suggesting Americans' attitudes were resilient in the face of belt-tightening in Washington, a private sector report showed on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes jumped to 76.2 from an upwardly revised 69 in April, topping economists' expectations for 71. It was the best level since February 2008.

April was originally reported as 68.1. After dropping in March, it was the second month in a row confidence has improved. Sentiment had been hit by debates in Washington surrounding fiscal policy, as well as the expiration of the payroll tax holiday at the beginning of the year.

"Back-to-back monthly gains suggest that consumer confidence is on the mend and may be regaining the traction it lost due to the fiscal cliff, payroll tax hike and sequester," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

The expectations index rose to 82.4 from 74.3, while the present situation index climbed to 66.7 from 61.

Consumers' labor market assessment improved. The "jobs hard to get" index slipped to 36.1 percent from 36.9 percent the month before, while the "jobs plentiful" index gained to 10.8 percent from 9.7 percent.

Consumers also felt better about price increases, with expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months falling to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Comments (7)
There is no government tightening. There is a slight across the board cut which amounts to dysfunction in government and a restoration of the full social security tax (bureaucrats and socialists call it a payroll tax). The offset of 85 billion/month of liquidity by the Fed swamps both slight reductions in government spending.

The cuts were the result of a brainstorm by white house cynics designed to appear to show cooperation in restraining spending in a way which the right would later find untenable. In an act of mutual destruction by the administration and the opposition they not only stood but the administration resisted efforts to make them less onerous by allowed the government agencies to reschedule money to offset Really Bad Cuts. The restoration of SS income taxes was needed to cutoff the desire of the left to take the Madoff like SS system and make in even worse by moving more quickly to a SS system supported by general funds.

May 28, 2013 11:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
erikcorr wrote:
Im calling this as a possible top-

May 28, 2013 11:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:
Obama has done a steady job reversing the Bush recession. Glad to be headed in the right direction.

May 28, 2013 12:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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