US consumer confidence hits highest level since November

By PAUL WISEMANFeaturesAssociated Press

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FILE - In this Sunday, May 19, 2019, file photo lines of unsold 2019 CX-5 sports-utility vehicles sit at a Mazda dealership in Littleton, Colo. On Tuesday, May 28, the Conference Board releases its May index on U.S. consumer confidence. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

American consumers felt more confident this month, shrugging off a rocky stock market and heightened trade tensions between the United States and China.

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The Conference Board, a business research group, says its consumer confidence index rose to 134.1 in May from 129.2 in April. The reading was the highest since November.

The index measures consumers' assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Both improved in May. Americans' evaluation of today's economy hit the highest level since December 2000.

Their optimism reflects a healthy job market. The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 3.6%, near a 50-year low.

Consumer spirits remained high even though the Dow Jones industrial average is down more than 3% this month, largely on worries about a U.S.-China trade war.