Consumer Confidence, April 2016

Consumer confidence drops a bit in April

NEW YORK – April 26, 2016 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined moderately in April following an increase one month earlier.

The Index now stands at 94.2, down from 96.1 in March. On the positive side, the Present Situation Index increased from 114.9 to 116.4, but the Expectations Index that gauges opinions about the U.S. six months from now decreased from 83.6 to 79.3 in April. The index is gauged to attitudes in 1985 with 100 assigned to that year.

"Consumer confidence continued on its sideways path, posting a slight decline in April following a modest gain in March," says 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."

Consumers' appraisal of current conditions improved somewhat in April. Those saying business conditions are "good" decreased from 24.9 percent to 23.2 percent – but those saying business conditions are "bad" also declined, from 19.2 percent to 18.1 percent.

Consumers' appraisal of the labor market was also mixed. Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" decreased from 25.4 percent to 24.1 percent, but those claiming jobs are "hard to get" also declined from 25.2 percent to 22.7 percent.

Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term future in April. The percentage expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 14.7 percent to 13.4 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen rose to 11.0 percent from 9.5 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased slightly from 13.0 percent to 12.2 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged up from 16.3 percent to 17.2 percent.

The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 16.9 percent to 15.9 percent; however, the proportion expecting a reduction in income also declined, from 12.3 percent to 11.2 percent.

Nielsen conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey for The Conference Board. It's based on a probability-design random sample.

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