NEW YORK, May 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. consumer confidence soared and reached the highest level in eight months in May as consumers' assessment of economic conditions improved, according to a survey result released Tuesday.
The New York-based private research organization Conference Board said on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose from 40.8 in April to 54.9 in May, much better than economists had expected. Current reading marks the highest level since September when the level was 61.4, and it is moving closer to the year-ago level of 58.1.
The Present Situation Index, which measures how shoppers feel now about the economy, rose to 28.9 from 25.5 last month. But the Expectations Index, which measures shoppers' outlook over the next six months, climbed to 72.3 from 51.0 in April.
The Present Situation Index, a measure of how consumers assess current-day economic conditions, rose to 28.9 from 25.5 last month. Meanwhile, the Expectations Index, which measures consumers' outlook for the next six months, jumped to 72.3 from 51.0 in April.
¡¡ Continued gains in the Present Situation Index indicate that current conditions have moderately improved, and growth in the second quarter is likely to be less negative than in the first, Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.
"Looking ahead, consumers are considerably less pessimistic than they were earlier this year, and expectations are that business conditions, the labor market and incomes will improve in the coming months," Franco said. "While confidence is still weak by historic standards, as far as consumers are concerned, the worst is now behind us."
Established in 1916, the U.S. Conference Board is the world's preeminent business membership and research organization, best known for its monthly U.S. consumer confidence index and the leading economic indicators.