NEW YORK-The consumer confidence index picked up 6.2 points in The Conference Board’s April survey, finishing the month at 68.1, as consumers’ views of the economy improved during the month.
In noting that consumers have a more positive opinion about both the current and future shape of the U.S. economy, Lynn Franco, The Conference Board’s director of economic indicators, added, “However, consumers’ confidence has been challenged several times over the past few months by such events as the fiscal cliff, the payroll tax hike and the sequester. Thus, while expectations appear to have bounded back, it is too soon to tell if confidence is actually on the mend.”
Both of the component indexes in the overall consumer confidence reading gained in April. The present situation index rose 1.2 points to 60.4, and the expectations index was up 9.6 points to 73.3.
Meanwhile, the consumer sentiment index, provided by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, fell back 2.2 points in April from March, to 76.4. Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Survey of Consumers, attributed the decline to consumers’ worries about economic conditions down the road. “In particular,” Curtin said, “consumers were less optimistic about the ability of the economy to continue to expand without a renewed downturn some time in the next five years.”