Consumer confidence inches higher in May, though slightly less than analysts had expected

Tuesday, May 28th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Consumer confidence edged up in May, though not quite as much as analysts expected, suggesting a slow economic recovery in the months ahead.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 109.8 this month from a revised 108.5 in April. Analysts were expecting a reading of 110.0.

The industry group's index, based on a monthly survey of some 5,000 U.S. households, is closely watched because consumer confidence drives consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.

``Consumers' upbeat mood about current business and labor conditions underscores the economy's continuing recovery,'' said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's research center.

But the numbers, which fell slightly below expectations, ``suggest that the pace of economic growth will not accelerate in the months ahead,'' she said.

The index compares results to its base year, 1985, when it stood at 100. The May figure falls slightly below the seven-month high of 110.7 reached in March after confidence had tumbled following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Conference Board said consumers' assessment of the current economic climate was slightly more positive in May than April. Consumers rating current business conditions as good increased to more than 21 percent from 19.7 percent in April.

The Conference Board is a nonprofit research and business group, with more than 2,700 corporate and other members around the world.