The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which was unchanged last month, rose in April. The Index now stands at 92.9 (1985=100), up from 88.5 in March. The Present Situation Index rose to 90.6 from 84.4. The Expectations Index increased to 94.5 from 91.3.
“This latest improvement in consumer confidence was sparked by a more favorable assessment of current business and labor market conditions and increased consumer optimism about the next six months,” says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “The job market, which has a major impact on confidence, appears to be gaining strength. The percentage of consumers claiming jobs are hard to get is now at its lowest level since November 2002, and more consumers expect this trend to continue.”
Consumers saying business conditions have improved rose to 21.4%, up from 20.7%. Those claiming conditions have worsened declined to 22% from 23.1%. Consumers claiming jobs are “hard to get” fell to 27.6% from 29.9%. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased to 15.8% from 14.7%.
Consumers’ optimism about the next six months improved for the first time this year. Those expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months edged up to 20.5% from 19.5%. Consumers expecting conditions to worsen dipped to 9.3% from 9.7%.
The employment outlook was also more favorable. Those anticipating more jobs to become available in the next six months increased to 18.2% from 15.7%. Those expecting fewer jobs was virtually unchanged at 17.5%. Consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes declined to 17% from 18% last month.
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 NFO. TNS NFO is one of the TNS group of companies. The cutoff date for April’s preliminary results was April 20th.