Consumer Confidence Shows Gains

Consumer confidence, which had rebounded in March, gained further ground in April, according to Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

“The Index is now at its highest reading in about a year and a half (September 2008, 61.4),” said Franco. “Consumers’ concerns about current business and labor market conditions eased again. And, their outlook regarding business conditions and the labor market was also more positive than last month. Looking ahead, continued job growth will be key in sustaining positive momentum.”

The Index now stands at 57.9 (1985=100), up from 52.3 in March. The Present Situation Index increased to 28.6 from 25.2. The Expectations Index improved to 77.4 from 70.4.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world’s largest custom research company. The cutoff date for April’s preliminary results was April 20.

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions was more positive in April. Those claiming conditions are "good" increased to 9.1 percent from 8.5 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" declined to 40.2 percent from 42.1 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market also improved. Those saying jobs are "plentiful" increased to 4.8 percent from 4.0 percent, while those saying jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 45.0 percent from 46.3 percent.

Consumers’ outlook was also brighter in April. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased to 19.8 percent from 18 percent, while those expecting conditions will worsen declined to 12.6 percent from 13.6 percent.

Consumers were also more optimistic about the job outlook. The percentage of consumers anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 18 percent from 14.1 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 20.0 percent from 21.4 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes declined to 10.3 from 10.8 percent.

Visit www.conference-board.org.

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