American consumers were feeling a bit more optimistic in May following a slight decline in confidence in April.
The Conference Board, a business research group, says that its consumer confidence index rose to 128.0 from 125.6 in April, which was revised downward. That follows March’s 127.0 and February’s 130.0, which was the highest reading in 18 years.
The index measures both consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the future. Both categories rose this month.
Economists closely watch consumers’ moods because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of all U.S. economic activity.
The Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales in April increased at a 0.3-percent rate, a sign that consumers may be back after weak spending earlier this year.