FRANKFURT / WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) – Sentiment among U.S. consumers has brightened in May, far more than expected, suggesting that Bank economists are hoping for gains in consumption.
As the Conference Board reported on Tuesday, the index of consumer confidence climbed from the previous month by 5.6 meters to 63.3. That was the highest since March 2008. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a level of 58.5. Initially a figure for April was reported by 57.9, which has now been corrected to 57.7.
The third Stimmungsverbessung among U.S. consumers in a row was determined by a much improved economic outlook. The index for expectations in May rose to 85.3 (previous month: 77.4) and is listed now at its highest level since August 2007. Since February, the expectations index has increased by 22.4 meters. The index for the assessment of the current situation rose to 30.2 and that (previous month: 28.2).
"Consumer confidence has his third consecutive monthly increase recorded," said survey director Lynn Franco-. Although the index levels compared to historical standards continue to be weak, consumer confidence seems "to ride to win." U.S. consumers play a key role for the U.S. economy because about 70% of GDP depend on private consumption.
The outlook on the labor market valued consumers more optimistic than last month, even if the present situation almost regarded as unchanged. Were expressed by 4.6% (April: 4.7%) of respondents indicated that the labor market a variety of jobs there. 43.6% (44.8 thought), however, that it was difficult to get a new job. With a continuing body construction expected 20.4% (17.7%) of the consumers surveyed, only 17.7% (19.9%) go out of employment declines. In the framework of the Conference Board survey of 5,000 households were surveyed.
Bank economists welcomed the improved consumer sentiment, but also warned against excessive euphoria. The current index level can, according to economist of Postbank Thilo Heidrich be expected, "that the U.S. consumer also listed in the following months, robust growth and support economic growth." But from euphoric consumers could not in the historical context of the question. From the long-term average of the time series, which lies at about 95 points, the value was still very far away still.
According to Commerzbank economist Christoph Balz continues to labor for the development of consumption is crucial. There, the respondents saw no improvement, although the current situation, but they expected for the months progress. "We expect in 2010 with a solid increase in real private consumption," said Balz. If negative shocks of the caliber of the Lehman bankruptcy had failed to secure continued economic recovery is likely. "Our forecast an average annual economic growth of 3.3% includes an increase of 2.8% for the real private consumption 2010."
By Katrin Haertel, Dow Jones Newswires, +49 (0) 69 297 25 300,
konjunktur.de @ dowjones.com
DJG / kth / have / ISJ