Consumer Confidence Declines in May

A gauge of U.S. consumer confidence slipped in May, a sign of continued caution that could restrain household spending and broader economic growth. 

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The Conference Board's consumer-confidence index fell to 92.6 in May from an upwardly revised 94.7 in April, the group said Tuesday. It was the second consecutive monthly decline. 

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a May reading of 96.0. 

"Consumer confidence declined slightly in May, primarily due to consumers rating current conditions less favorably than in April," said Lynn Franco, the group's director of economic indicators. 

"Expectations declined further, as consumers remain cautious about the outlook for business and labor market conditions." 

An array of recent indicators has pointed to sturdier economic growth in the second quarter, bolstered by a pickup in consumer spending. 

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Household outlays climbed 1% in April from the prior month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday, the largest one-month jump since August 2009. Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers on Friday estimated gross domestic product would grow at a 2.5% annual rate in the current quarter, up from the first quarter's 0.8% growth pace. 

A separate measure of U.S. household optimism had rebounded in May. The University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment index was 94.7, up from an April reading of 89.0 that had been the lowest since September 2015. 

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