NEW YORK–The consumer confidence index picked up 1.6 points in April, finishing the month at 65.4, making up partially for a sharp drop in the indicator in March.
The consumers surveyed by The Conference Board, the provider of the monthly index, displayed somewhat rosier assessments of both current and future economic conditions. The two component indexes, present situations and expectations, both increased slightly in the April survey.
In addition, while the percentage of consumers who said current business conditions are “good” slipped, so did the percentage of consumers rating current business conditions as “bad.” The percentage of consumers who believe that jobs are “plentiful” rose in the April survey, while the ratio of those who said jobs are “hard to get” declined.
Looking ahead, the percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to improve decreased, but so did the percentage of consumers who predicted a drop off in business conditions. Along the same lines, the ratio of consumers expecting increases in the number of jobs fell, as did the percentage of consumers expecting a decline in jobs.
Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said April’s modest gain in the overall index indicated that the uncertainty from March (when the index dropped 8.6 points) had dissipated, along with fears of inflation. “Although confidence remains weak, consumers assessment of current conditions gained ground for the seventh straight months, a sign that the economic recovery continues,” Franco said.