Consumer Confidence: Modest Rebound, Nearly As Expected

May 26, 2020
Bottom Line: Consumers' assessments of the economy rebounded slightly in May, as their expectations for future economic growth rebounded, even as their assessments of the present situation fell slightly. The percentage of respondents saying jobs were "hard to get" fell after jumping sharply in April. While still not back to levels associated with normal, expansionary periods of economic growth, this index is back below levels associated with recessions. Overall, this report suggested the consumer was turning slightly more positive after the shock of the shutdowns for the novel coronavirus. Combined with nowcast data for consumer spending based on google search trends, consumer spending likely rebounded to levels still below but near trend over the course of late April and early May. Consumer Confidence ROSE by 0.9 points in May to 86.6, compared with market expectations for an increase to 87.0. The index is now 34.0% BELOW its year ago level. Present Situation Index FELL by 1.9 points to 71.1. The index is 58.3% BELOW its year-ago level. The Expectations Index ROSE by 2.6 points to 96.9. The index is 7.7% BELOW its year-ago level. The labor differential, the percentage of respondents who said jobs are “hard to get” from the percentage who said jobs are “plentiful” , moved higher by 5.3 points to -10.4.