Consumer confidence up slightly but remains near 6-year low

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence inched up this month, showing signs of stabilizing, but remains near a six-year low in the face of the widespread business shutdowns that have sent the economy into recession.

The Conference Board says its confidence index ticked up to a reading of 86.6 in May from 85.7 in April. The index, which reflects consumers’ assessment of present conditions and expectations about the future, had plummeted during the previous two months.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses across he country to close, stifling consumer spending, which drives about 70% of all economic activity in the the United States.

Optimism about the economy has improved slightly as states have lifted shelter-in-place orders and many categories of businesses have been allowed to reopen under certain restrictions.

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