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On Second Thought, Maybe Consumer Confidence Isn't That High

Last week, the researchers who put out the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers said their index rose in May to "its highest level since October 2007" — before the last recession began.

But when it comes to economics, there always seem to be an "on the other hand" moment coming — especially when the economy appears to be at a turning point.

And voila: The private Conference Board says its consumer confidence index fell in May by nearly four points, to its lowest level in four months.

"Consumers were less positive about current business and labor market conditions, and they were more pessimistic about the short-term outlook," says Lynn Franco, the board's director of economic indicators, in a statement released with its report.

But, she adds, "consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, which should help sustain spending."

As we noted on Friday, consumer confidence not only has an effect on the economy — if consumers are feeling good, in theory, they're be more apt to spend — it also could influence this fall's election.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.