The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in March, declined in April. The index now stands at 95.2 (1985=100), down from 101.4 in March. The Present Situation Index decreased from 109.5 last month to 106.8 in April. The Expectations Index declined from 96.0 last month to 87.5 in April.
Consumers’ appraisal of current-day conditions continued to soften. Those saying business conditions are “good” edged down from 26.7% to 26.5%. However, those claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased from 19.4% to 18.2%.
Consumers were less favorable in their assessment of the job market. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” declined from 21.0% to 19.1%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 25.5% to 26.4%.
Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook, which had rebounded in March, retreated in April. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 16.8% to 16.0%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 8.1% to 9.4%.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market also deteriorated. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 15.3% to 13.8% while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 13.6% to 16.3%. The proportion of consumers expecting growth in their incomes decreased from 18.8% to 18.3% while the proportion expecting a decline increased from 9.7% to 11.2%.
“Consumer confidence, which had rebounded in March, gave back all of the gain and more in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “This month’s retreat was prompted by a softening in current conditions, likely sparked by the recent lackluster performance of the labor market, and apprehension about the short-term outlook. The Present Situation Index declined for the third consecutive month. Coupled with waning expectations, there is little to suggest that economic momentum will pick up in the months ahead.”
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.
The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 17.