The Conference Board reports its gauge of consumer confidence fell to 95.2 in April, from 101.3 the month prior, far below expectations for a gain of 102.5.
“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 decreased from 109.5 last month to 106.8 in April, while the Expectations Index fell from 96.0 last month to 87.5 in April.
“The Present Situation Index declined for the third consecutive month,” Franco added. “Coupled with waning expectations, there is little to suggest that economic momentum will pick up in the months ahead.”
The gauge measuring consumers’ current-day conditions also weakened, as the number of respondents saying business conditions are “good” fell from 26.7 percent to 26.5 percent. However, the number claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased from 19.4 percent to 18.2 percent.
Yet, consumers expressed unfavorable sentiment regarding the job market, with the gauge reporting those stating jobs are “plentiful” dropped from 21.0 percent to 19.1 percent. Further, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 25.5 percent to 26.4 percent. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 15.3 percent to 13.8 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 13.6 percent to 16.3 percent.
The short-term outlook, which had rebounded in March, followed the softening trend in the month of April. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 16.8 percent to 16.0 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen also increased more than a point from 8.1 percent to 9.4 percent.
Wage growth, or the lack of it, has become a leading indicator for the Federal Reserve weighing the timing of interest rate hikes. In addition to positive news alluding the monthly jobs reports, consumers don’t see conditions improving, either. The percentage of consumers expecting growth in their incomes fell from 18.8 percent to 18.3 percent, while the percentage expecting a decline increased from 9.7 percent to 11.2 percent.