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Consumer confidence rebounds in May

New York-- With Americans feeling more buoyant about current business conditions, consumer confidence bounced back in May from an April downturn, advancing by 1.6% to a level of 108.0 from 106.3 the month before, according to The Conference Board.

Lynn Franco, director of the business think tank's Consumer Research Center , said, "The bounce-back in confidence was due primarily to a more upbeat assessment of present-day business conditions. Consumers' view of the job market, both present and six months from now, was little changed and did not provide a boost in confidence."

Despite the rebound in May, "The short-term outlook remains cautious, and rising gasoline prices are having a negative impact on consumers' inflation expectations. All in all, confidence levels continue to suggest growth, albeit at a slow pace."

Looking out six months, consumers remain cautious, said The Conference Board. The number who expect conditions to improve rose to 15.1% from 13.8%, while the number who expect conditions to worsen advanced as well, rising to 10.1% from 9.7%. The outlook for the job market six months out was unchanged, with the number who expect more jobs holding steady at 13.3%, while 15.7% expect fewer jobs, also unchanged.

The number who expect their income to increase fell to 17.7% from 18.4% in April.

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