Consumer confidence recovered slightly in June after falling in May, as shoppers became more optimistic about the economy’s future, a private research group reported Tuesday.
According to an Associated Press report, the New York-based Conference Board said its confidence index rose to 105.7 from a revised 104.7 in May. Analysts had expected a reading of 103.9.
“The slight bounce-back in confidence this month was a result of the moderate improvement in consumers’ expectations,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.
Still, she noted, “Despite the uptick, consumers remain concerned about the short-term outlook.”
The Present Situation Index, which measures how shoppers feel now about economic conditions, declined to 132.7 from 134.1. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ outlook over the next six months, edged up to 87.6 from 85.1 in May.
Consumer confidence has been a bit choppy this year, following a rebound since November in the aftermath of last year’s Gulf of Mexico hurricanes. In addition to May, February also saw a dip in consumer sentiment when short-lived pessimism over the job market hurt confidence.
Economists closely monitor consumer confidence because consumer spending accounts for two thirds of all U.S. economic activity.
The slight rebound in confidence in June was soothing to retailers, which have seen shoppers remain resilient even in the face of $3 per gallon gasoline. Still, the worry is that shoppers will start to pull back as the heavy summer driving season kicks into gear. Shoppers face many challenges amid an uncertain economic climate, from higher energy costs to rising interest rates.