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U.S. Consumer Confidence Down Slightly in April

Americans were slightly less optimistic about current conditions in April, but their attitudes remain more positive about the short-term outlook.

BOSTON – Americans were slightly less optimistic in April, though it appears their confidence was shaken more by current conditions, and they were feeling more positive about the short-term outlook. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index dropped slightly this month, after an uptick in March.

The Index now stands at 107.3, down from 107.6 in March.

The Present Situation Index component of the broader index based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – fell to 152.6 from 153.8 last month. However, the Expectations Index based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – ticked up to 77.2 from 76.7.

“Consumer confidence fell slightly in April, after a modest increase in March,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index declined, but remains quite high, suggesting the economy continued to expand in early Q2. Expectations, while still weak, did not deteriorate further amid high prices, especially at the gas pump and the war in Ukraine. Vacation intentions cooled but intentions to buy big-ticket items like automobiles and many appliances rose somewhat.

“Still, purchasing intentions are down overall from recent levels as interest rates have begun rising. Meanwhile, concerns about inflation retreated from an all-time high in March but remained elevated. Looking ahead, inflation and the war in Ukraine will continue to pose downside risks to confidence and may further curb consumer spending this year.”

Present situation

Consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions was mixed in April:

• 20.8% said business conditions were “good,” up from 19.6%.

• 21.9% said business conditions were “bad,” up from 21.4%.

Assessment of the labor market was less upbeat:

• 55.2% said jobs were “plentiful,” down from 56.7%.

• 10.6% said jobs are “hard to get,” up from 9.6%.

Expectations six months from now

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term business conditions:

• 18.1% expect business conditions will improve, down from 19.0%.

• 21.8% expect business conditions to worsen, down from 24.1%.

Attitudes were less optimistic about the short-term labor market outlook:

• 17.4% expect more jobs to be available in the months ahead, down from 17.6%.

• 18.9% anticipate fewer jobs, up from 18.0%.

Consumers were less pessimistic about their short-term financial prospects.

• 16.5% of consumers expect their incomes to increase, up from 15.1%.

• 13.8% expect their incomes will decrease, virtually unchanged from 13.7%.

Toluna conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 19.

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