US consumer confidence up in May, as hopes rise for better jobs, wages

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US consumer confidence increased slightly in May, with hopes for better job opportunities and higher wages rising, independent business research group The Conference Board said on Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index rose to 83.0, compared to 81.7 in April and 74.3 a year ago.

Consumers' assessments of the current situation and the six-month outlook were both improved.

"Expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy, jobs, and personal finances were also more upbeat," said Ms Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the board.

"In fact, the percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to grow over the next six months is the highest since December 2007 (20.2 percent).

"Thus, despite last month's decline, consumers' confidence appears to be growing." Even so, significantly more survey respondents - 32.3 per cent - saw jobs as hard to get, than those who described jobs are plentiful, only 14.1 per cent.

Those who said business conditions were good were 21.1 per cent, while those calling conditions bad were 24.8 per cent.