NEW YORK (AP) -- Consumer confidence rose in June for the second consecutive month, as Americans' outlook toward the nation's struggling economy continued to brighten.
The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to a better-than-expected 117.9, up from 116.1 in May. The May figure was revised upward from 115.5.
''Consumers are currently more optimistic than they have been all year regarding business and job prospects over the next six months,'' said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.
Despite optimistic feelings about the future, American are less bullish about the current situation, Franco said. She added that there was ''little reason to expect consumers to go on shopping binges'' and said the economy should continue to expand slowly.
The Conference Board index, based on a monthly survey of some 5,000 U.S. households, is considered a key indicator because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the nation's economic activity. The index compares results to its base year, 1985, when it stood at 100.
Analysts were expected results in the 114 to 115 range. Nonetheless, the June index is still weak in comparison to where it was a year ago at this time, when it was at 139.2.
Consumers were less positive about ongoing conditions in June than in May, the Conference Board said. The percentage of consumers rating current business conditions as ''good'' declined from 30.7 percent to 28.7 percent. Consumers rating conditions as ''bad'' rose from 11.5 percent to 13.0 percent.
But the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in business conditions rose in June from 16.8 percent to 17.1 percent. Those anticipating conditions to worsen slid 13.5 percent to 11.1 percent.
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