Consumer confidence tanks below expectations

Consumer confidence has softened.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index for April reading came in at 95.2, below expectations for a climb to 102.2 from 101.3 in March.

Last month, the index crushed expectations, beating the consensus forecast of 96.4.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, said in the release: “This month’s retreat was prompted by a softening in current conditions, likely sparked by the recent lacklustre performance of the labour market, and apprehension about the short-term outlook.

Franco added: “Coupled with waning expectations, there is little to suggest that economic momentum will pick up in the months ahead.”

Ahead of the release, Bank of America Merril Lynch economists noted that the weak jobs report in March, as well as climbing gas prices, may have had consumers feeling less optimistic about the economy.

The number of consumers expecting jobs growth in the months ahead fell to 13.8% from 15.3%, while those expecting fewer jobs rose to 16.3% from 13.6%.

Their outlook for wages has also gotten worse, with 11.2% of consumers now expecting wage cuts, versus 9.7% last month.

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