Consumer Confidence Steadies as U.S. Economy Reopens

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Consumer confidence, as measured by The Conference Board’s monthly Consumer Confidence Index, stabilized in May following a sharp decline in April.

According to Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators for the New York-based think tank, “The free-fall in confidence stopped in May” following two months of rapid decline.

The findings are based on the group’s Consumer Confidence Survey for May 2020, conducted by Nielsen, and are comprised of several sub-indices that measure various components of consumer sentiment. As Franco explained, “The severe and widespread impact of COVID-19 has been mostly reflected in the Present Situation Index, which has plummeted nearly 100 points since the onset of the pandemic.”

However, short-term expectations moderately increased last month as the gradual re-opening of the economy helped improve consumers’ spirits. The percentage of respondents expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 39.8 percent to 43.3 percent.

Nonetheless, consumers still remain concerned about their financial prospects, Franco said, and while the decline in confidence appears to have stopped for the moment, “The uneven path to recovery and potential second wave are likely to keep a cloud of uncertainty hanging over consumers’ heads.”

Founded in 1916, The Conference Board describes itself as a non-partisan, not-for-profit, member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. The next Consumer Confidence Index will be released June 30.