Consumer’s Confidence Up, Bullish On Economy’s Near-Term Performance
Following a dip in March, consumer sentiment rebounded in April according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. Its index reached 129.2 in April, up from 124.2 the month before.
“Consumer confidence partially rebounded in April, following March’s decline, but still remains below levels seen last fall,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index, which had decreased sharply last month, improved in April, as did consumers’ short-term outlook. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue growing at a solid pace into the summer months. These strong confidence levels should continue to support consumer spending in the near-term.”
Looking more closely at The Conference Board’s findings, its Present Situation Index, which reflects consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, increased from 163 to 168.3. The Expectations Index, which is drawn from consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, also increased in April to 103 from 98.3 in March.
Consumers’ outlook on current conditions improved in April, with those describing business conditions as “good” increasing from 34.7 percent to 37.3 percent, and those saying they are “bad” slipping from 12.4 percent to 11.7 percent. Consumers also showed a positive appraisal of the labor market, with those saying jobs are “plentiful” increasing from 42.5 percent to 46.8 percent while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 13.8 percent to 13.3 percent.
Consumers’ optimism about the short-term future recovered in April. The percentage expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 17.2 percent to 19.9 percent, while those expecting them to worsen decreased from 10 percent to 9.1 percent. Their outlook for the labor market was also more favorable. The share of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 16.8 percent to 17.2 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 14.3 percent to 13.2 percent. Regarding short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement was essentially unchanged month to month at 21.5 percent, but the proportion expecting a decrease slipped from 7.4 percent to seven percent.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted by The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics about what consumer behavior.