Report: Consumer confidence on the rise

Consumer confidence heads higher American consumers are beginning to take a rosier view of their economic prospects as the Confidence Board’s consumer confidence index jumped for the third straight month, reaching 85.3 for the month of May.

While consumers were still much more likely to describe current economic conditions as bad, rather than good, the differential between the two figures shrunk, with 10 percent of respondents saying that conditions were good and 39.3 percent answering more negatively. These figures were 8.9 percent and 40 percent respectively in April. Remedial measures like debt counseling and settlement could be partially responsible for this improvement.

"Consumer confidence posted its third consecutive monthly gain, and although still weak by historical levels, appears to be gaining some traction. Consumers’ apprehension about current business conditions and the job market continues to slowly dissipate. Consumers’ expectations, on the other hand, have increased sharply over the past three months, propelling the Expectations Index to pre-recession levels," said Confidence Board consumer research center director Lynn Franco.

Experts have cited improvements in consumer confidence levels as being key to the resurgence of many important economic sectors, including real estate and job growth.