The Conference Board reported Tuesday its gauge of consumer confidence fell more than expected in April to 94.2 from a downwardly revised 96.1 in March. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the closely-watched gauge to decline slightly to 96.
“Consumer confidence continued on its sideways path, posting a slight decline in April, following a modest gain in March,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved, suggesting no slowing in economic growth. However, their expectations regarding the short-term have moderated, suggesting they do not foresee any pickup in momentum.”
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen and the cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 14.
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved somehwat in April, even though the percentage saying business conditions are “good” fell from 24.9% to 23.2%. However, those saying business conditions are “bad” also fell, down from 19.2% to 18.1%. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market were mixed, as well. The percentage claiming jobs are “plentiful” fell from 25.4% to 24.1%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also fell from 25.2% to 22.7%.
Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term outlook in April than last month. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 14.7 percent to 13.4 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen rose to 11.0% from 9.5%.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased slightly from 13.0% to 12.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged up from 16.3% to 17.2%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 16.9% to 15.9%; however, the proportion expecting a reduction in income also declined, from 12.3% to 11.2%.