Consumer Confidence Slips in April

Down-the-road outlook less optimistic
Posted on April 27, 2016 by David Gill

ConferenceBoard3x2NEW YORK-Continuing on what Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, described as “a sideways path,” the consumer confidence index fell 1.9 points in April to 94.2, after posting a modest gain in March.

The present situation index gained 1.5 points to 116.4, while the expectations index dropped 4.3 points to 79.3. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved, suggesting no slowing in economic growth,” Franco said. “However, their expectations regarding the short-term have moderated, suggesting they do not foresee any pickup in momentum.”

The Conference Board derives the monthly indicator based on a survey of consumers conducted for the organization by Nielsen. In that survey, the percentage of consumers who rated current business conditions as “good” declined, but so did the percentage of consumers who saw current business conditions as “bad.” Similarly, the percentage of consumers who say jobs are now “plentiful” decreased, but so did the percentage of consumers who said jobs are “hard to get.”

Consumers’ ratings of business conditions down the road were less optimistic in the April survey. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased, while the ratio of consumers who expect business conditions to worsen rose. In addition, the percentage of consumers who expect the job market pick up in the time frame declined, while the percentage of consumers who expect fewer jobs increased.

Also looking ahead, the percentage of consumers who expect their incomes to grow in the next six months fell. However, the percentage of those expecting incomes to fall decreased as well.