Americans’ Confidence in Economy Slips for First Time in Six Months

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For the first time in six months, Americans’ confidence in the economy dropped as more grow worried about the rising cost of living and the outlook on future jobs. The Conference Board released results from a consumer confidence survey Tuesday, that showed index numbers dipping from 117.5 in April to 117.2 in May, reported MarketWatch.

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“Consumers’ short-term optimism retreated, prompted by expectations of decelerating growth and softening labor market conditions in the months ahead,” said  Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers were also less upbeat this month about their income prospects — a reflection, perhaps, of both rising inflation expectations and a waning of further government support until expanded Child Tax Credit payments begin reaching parents in July.”

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MarketWatch noted that based on a survey of economists compiled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, the index was forecast to decline slightly to 119.5. As states have begun to loosen restrictions, MarketWatch also revealed that all three major surveys of consumer confidence declined in May.

When asked about current business and labor market conditions, index numbers from The Conference Board increased from 131.9 to 144.3; however, the short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions dropped to 99.1 in May from 107.9. MarketWatch pointed out that this was a new pandemic high.

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It’s no surprise that Americans aren’t so optimistic about the future of the U.S. economy due to the impact of Covid-19 on people’s health and financial well-being. According to a new survey from McKinsey and Ipsos, fewer than half of all respondents are optimistic about access to economic opportunity.

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Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics, explains that weakened confidence is also due to declining fiscal support and rising inflation, as reported by MarketWatch.

The Consumer Price Index for April, which measures the average change in prices over time, rose 4.2% from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. CNBC reported that the annual gain in core inflation was the fastest since September 2008 while the monthly gain was the largest since 1981.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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