WASHINGTON (5/29/13)--U.S. consumer confidence in May rose to the highest level in more than five years, buoyed by improving perceptions of the labor market and overall economy, according to private research group The Conference Board (Bloomberg.com May 28).
The board's index of consumer confidence climbed to 76.2--the highest level since February 2008--from a 69.0 in April (Bloomberg.com, MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal and Moody's Economy.com May 28). Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected the index to reach 72.3.
The month's 7.2 gain followed a similar 7.1 increase in April.
The upswing in consumer sentiment was in sync with escalating property values and stock prices that are bolstering household finances at the same time the labor market is improving, Bloomberg said.
Housing-market improvement has an upside with far-reaching tentacles, Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody's Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pa., told Bloomberg. Homeowners are more at ease with their finances when home prices increase, which leads to consumers spending more freely, he noted.
Both subcomponents of the index hit recent high points, with the present-conditions index at its highest level since May 2008, and the expectations component the best since October 2012, the Journal said.