By Will Feuer
U.S. consumer confidence softened in May as Americans became somewhat less upbeat about their economic prospects.
Private research group The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer-confidence index fell to 102.3 in May from an upwardly revised 103.7 in April.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected confidence at 99.0.
"Consumer confidence declined in May as consumers' view of current conditions became somewhat less upbeat while their expectations remained gloomy," said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director, economics at The Conference Board.
The expectations-specific index edged down to 71.5 in May from 71.7 in April, well below the 80-point level that is often associated with a recession within the next year, the data showed.
Consumers were more pessimistic during the month about business conditions, but the outlook for the labor market over the next six months held steady, according to The Conference Board. Ozyildirim said the drop in confidence was particularly pronounced among consumers over 55 years of age.
The board's measure for current business and labor market conditions fell to 148.6 in May from 151.8 last month, as more consumers said jobs were hard to get.
May's data also showed that consumer inflation expectations over the next 12 months fell slightly to 6.1% in May from 6.2% in April. Plans to purchase big-ticket items like appliances and cars ticked up somewhat from April, Ozyildirim said.
Write to Will Feuer at Will.Feuer@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 30, 2023 10:35 ET (14:35 GMT)Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.