Consumer Confidence Increases Slightly

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased in March, improved in April. The index now stands at 65.4 (1985=100), up from 63.8 in March. The Present Situation Index increased to 39.6 from 37.5. The Expectations Index rose to 82.6 from 81.3.

“Consumer confidence, which had declined sharply in March, posted a modest gain in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’ short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing. Inflation expectations, which had spiked, retreated somewhat in April. Although confidence remains weak, consumers’ assessment of current conditions gained ground for the seventh straight month, a sign that the economic recovery continues.

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions, although mixed, also improved in April, according to the Conference Board. The number of those stating that conditions are “good” decreased slightly to 14.8 percent from 15.0 percent. Those stating that business conditions are “bad” also declined slightly to 36.4 percent from 36.6 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was more favorable than last month. Those saying jobs are “hard to get” declined to 41.8 percent from 44.4 percent, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased to 5.2 percent from 4.6 percent.

Consumers’ short-term outlook, which had soured in March, improved moderately in April. While those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined to 18.8 percent from 20.8 percent, those anticipating business conditions to worsen decreased to 14.2 percent from 15.5 percent, the Conference Board also noted.

Consumers were mixed about the labor market outlook for the next six months. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 17.5 percent from 19.6 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 19.0 percent from 20.5 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes improved to 16.7 percent from 15.2 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, which is based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by The Nielsen Company. The cutoff date for April’s preliminary results was April 14.

Visit www.conference-board.org.
 

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