US consumer confidence edged higher in May but remained soft compared to the beginning of the year, the Conference Board said Tuesday.
The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 95.4 from 94.3 in April, but remained below the recent peak of 103.8 scored in January.
After economic growth stalled in the first quarter of the year, survey respondents had a better view of current conditions than in previous months, and the number expecting to make large purchases -- of homes, autos, and major appliances -- edged higher.
But their outlook for the coming six months was still weak: the expectations index actually fell from April to 86.9, and compared to the optimistic 97.0 level in January.
Despite some recent improvement, most respondents said they expect little change in the jobs market and in incomes.
"The index is down from just over 100 at the peak earlier this year, likely because of a fading of the boost from lower gasoline prices, but the net result is still a solid gain from last year's 86.9 average," said Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency economics.