Have you been buying more stuff this month? Are you feeling better about the economy?

The Conference Board announced that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 54.9, up from 40.8 in April. The Index reports the responses of 5,000 households that are polled every month. Consumers who participate share their views on the job market and whether business conditions are “good” or “bad.”

The 70 economists polled by Bloomberg gave a median estimate of 42.6. So the May number reported by the Conference Board far surpasses that, and comes close to the 2008 average of 57.95.

I wouldn’t say I’ve felt confident about the economy this month – I’ve continued to be careful about my spending. But I do feel like the next few months will get better. I think a belief in a brighter future will help us to get through these tough times.

May 26, 2009