Consumer Confidence Falls More Than Expected

Consumer confidence fell to 82.3 in April, missing expectations for a reading of 83.2.

March’s reading was revised up to 83.9, from 83.2.

The present situation index fell to 78.3, from 82.5, while the expectations index was flat.

Consumer spending accounts for about 40% of the economy and investors watch this to gauge how the economy is holding up.

Here’s the entire press release:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased in March, declined slightly in April. The Index now stands at 82.3 (1985=100), down from 83.9 in March. The Present Situation Index decreased to 78.3 from 82.5, while the Expectations Index was virtually unchanged at 84.9 versus 84.8 in March.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 17.

“Consumer confidence declined slightly in April, as consumers assessed current business and labour market conditions less favourably than in March,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “However, their expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labour market held steady. Thus, while sentiment regarding current conditions may have slipped a bit, consumers do not foresee the economy, or the labour market, losing the momentum that has been building up over the past several months.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions pulled back moderately in April. Those claiming business conditions are “good” edged down to 21.8 per cent from 22.6 per cent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” rose to 24.4 per cent from 23.5 per cent. Consumers’ assessment of the labour market was also slightly more negative. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” declined to 12.9 per cent from 13.8 per cent, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” increased to 32.5 per cent from 31.4 per cent.

Consumers’ expectations held steady in April. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months was unchanged at 17.4 per cent, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen increased marginally to 10.3 per cent from 10.1 per cent. Consumers were slightly more optimistic about the outlook for the labour market. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 15.0 per cent from 14.1 per cent, while those expecting fewer jobs edged up to 17.9 per cent from 17.5 per cent. The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes to grow increased to 17.1 per cent from 15.3 per cent, but those expecting a drop in their incomes also increased, to 12.9 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

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