Consumer confidence improved slightly in the week ending May 20, coming back from the previous week, when it was at a four-month low.
Lower gasoline prices, a decrease in firings and more home sales are some of the factors that led to an increase in Bloomberg's consumer comfort index. Bloomberg reported that its index rose to minus 42 from minus 43.6, but the increase is still within the 3 percent margin of error.
Any number below minus 40 signals that consumers are feeling "severe economic discontent." Historically, the average for confidence is minus 15.3, according to Bloomberg.
Consumer confidence gained at the beginning of 2012 but lost most of its momentum in the previous four weeks, dropping 12.2 points.
Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates LLC, said confidence is linked to jobs, and increases in jobs at the beginning of the year led to the rise, but when signs showed that economic recovery was slowing, consumer confidence began to drop.