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Economic Report: Consumer confidence dips on worries over inflation and slowing U.S. economy


The numbers: A survey of consumer confidence fell slightly in May to 106.4 from 108.6, reflecting worries about high inflation and a slowdown in the economy.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the index to total 103.9.

Big picture: The U.S. economy is still growing, but government spending has tapered off and high inflation is forcing the Federal Reserve to jack up interest rates. Higher rates could eventually slow the economy.

On the flip side, the strongest labor in decades and rising wages have offset some of the damage from high inflation and allowed consumers to keep spending. Consumer spending is the main driver of the U.S. economy.

Key details: A measure of how consumers feel about the economy right now slipped to 149.6 from 152.9, The Conference Board said Tuesday.

Americans have fewer plans to buy cars, homes, appliances and other big-ticket items because of high costs. Yet they have shifted some of that spending to services like dining out, traveling or taking a vacation.

A similar confidence gauge that looks ahead six months fell to 77.5 from 79.

Consumers don’t “foresee the economy picking up steam in the months ahead,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the board.

Looking ahead: “inflation remains top of mind for consumers,” Franco said.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average

and S&P 500

fell in Tuesday trades. Stocks rallied last year after the Fed indicated it might not raise interest rates as quickly as investors had expected.

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