May economic data: Green shoots, mixed with weeds

A veritable compost of economic data released Friday continues to suggest the U.S. economy is displaying more of Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's "green shoots," along with isolated clumps of crabgrass and dandelions in other areas.

First, the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its consumer sentiment index for May increased to 68.7 from 61.9 in April, Reuters reported Friday. Moreover, it was the sentiment index's highest reading since September 2008, or just before the global financial crisis intensified in October 2008. The index has been registering steady gains, rising from 57.3 in March and 56.3 in February, Reuters reported. The index's record low of 51.7 was set in May 1980. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected the index to rise to 68.0 in May.