U.S. consumer optimism picked up in May but not as much as analysts had expected, although an improved outlook for jobs partly offset the impact of higher oil prices and turmoil in Iraq, a report showed Tuesday.

The Conference Board (search), a private forecasting body, said its index of consumer confidence (search) rose to 93.2 in May from a revised 93.0 in April. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 93.50.

After two straight months of robust increases in the non-farm payrolls, the Conference Board's jobs-hard-to-get index still rose to 30.6 percent from a revised 28.0 in April, but the number of consumers saying jobs were plentiful rose to 16.6 percent from a revised 15.6.

Also the number of consumers who felt there would be more jobs in six months' time rose to 19.2 percent in May from 18.3 in April.