Consumer confidence for the month of May came in right in line with expectations, rising to 128.0 from a downwardly revised reading of 125.6 in April. As shown in the chart, consumers are just about as confident as they have been at any time since 2001.
Breaking out sentiment by the Present Situation and Expectations shows a somewhat mixed picture. On the one hand, the current situation for consumers is very positive as that index rose to its highest level since March 2001. Expectations, on the other hand, have been drifting lower for well over a year now since peaking in March 2017.
One reason consumers feel so upbeat about current conditions is related to jobs. In this month’s survey, the index of “Jobs Are Plentiful” rose to 42.4. That’s the largest one-month increase in this index since last October and puts the index at its highest level since March 2001.
Finally, sentiment towards the stock market also rebounded in May. After April’s reading where positive sentiment towards the stock market dropped to its lowest level since the 2016 election, we saw a rebound in May as 38.3% of consumers now expect higher stock prices compared to just 24.4% who expect prices to decline. After today’s tape, though, that boost in sentiment may not be all that long-lasting.