Consumer Confidence Index rebounds

Lynn Franco

A measure of consumer confidence has rebounded to its highest level in more than a year on more upbeat assessments of business and labor conditions.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose 12.7 points to 121.7 in April. That’s the highest reading since February 2020 and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved significantly in April, suggesting the economic recovery strengthened further in early Q2,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

“Consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, perhaps due to the improving job market and the recent round of stimulus checks,” Franco said. “Short-term inflation expectations held steady in April, but remain elevated. Vacation intentions posted a healthy increase, likely boosted by the accelerated vaccine rollout and further loosening of pandemic restrictions.”

The business research and membership group bases the index on the results of monthly household surveys. Economists monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.

Assessments of current conditions pushed the present situation component of the Consumer Confidence Index up 29.5 points to 139.6.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the April index was based who characterized business conditions as “good” rose four points to 23.3 percent. The share of those who described conditions as “bad” fell 5.3 points to 24.8 percent.

The proportion of consumers who called jobs “plentiful” increased 11.4 points to 37.9 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” decreased 5.3 points to 13.2 percent.

An improving short-term outlook pushed the expectations component of the index up 1.5 points to 109.8.

The share of consumers who said they expect business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up two-tenths of a point to 40.5 percent. The proportion of those anticipating worsening conditions remained unchanged at 11.9 percent.

The share of those who expect more jobs to become available in coming months fell 1.4 points to 34.5 percent. Those anticipating fewer jobs rose 1.1 points to 15.5 percent.

Asked about their expectations for income, 17.9 percent of those who responded said they anticipated increases in the next six months — up 2.5 points from March. Meanwhile, 10.9 percent said they expected decreases — down 1.7 points.