Consumer confidence brightened in May, reaching its highest level this year, a sign that sentiment is stablizing as the economy improves.
Gallup's economic confidence index improved to -14 in May from -17 in April, its highest monthly reading since January, according to the poll released on Tuesday.
"Though economic confidence remains in negative territory, these other encouraging factors in the U.S. economy suggest that confidence may continue to edge higher,” the Gallup report said.
Still, the confidence index remains significantly below the -7 average posted in May 2013, which was the highest monthly average since Gallup began tracking the measure in 2008.
May’s improved score also includes a -13 economic confidence reading for the week of May 26-June 1, which was the highest weekly reading since early January.
The index is an average of views of the current economic situation and perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse.
In last month's average, views of the current economic situation remained the same as in April, with 20 percent rating the economy as "excellent" or "good," while 34 percent say it is "poor," resulting in a current conditions score of -14.
Meanwhile, views about the direction of the economy improved with 40 percent saying the economy is "getting better," and 54 percent saying it is "getting worse." This results in an economic outlook score of -14, up from April's score of -17.
The poll's resultsare based on telephone interviews conducted May 1-31 with a random sample of 15,726 U.S. adults.