Index: Consumer confidence rebounds

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on a slightly more upbeat outlook economic recovery continues.

The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) climbed to 65.4 in April, up 1.6 points from a revised 63.8 for March.

The April gain follows a more than eight-point drop in March. In April 2010, the CCI stood at 57.7.

The Conference Board, a business research and networking group, bases the CCI on the results of monthly surveys of U.S. households. Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of economic activity in the country.

“Consumers’ short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Inflation expectations, which had spiked, retreated somewhat in April. Although confidence remains weak, consumers’ assessment of current conditions gained ground for the seventh straight month, a sign that the economic recovery continues.”

Consumer assessments of current conditions pushed the Present Situation Index up more than two points to 39.6.

The share of consumers responding to the surveys who characterized business conditions as “good” dipped two-tenths to 14.8 percent. But the proportion of those who said conditions are “bad” also fell two-tenths — to 36.4 percent.

The share of consumers who described jobs as “plentiful” rose six-tenths to 5.2 percent, while the proportion of those who said jobs are “hard to get” fell 2.6 points to 41.8 percent.

The outlook for the next six months improved, pushing the Expectations Index up 1.3 points to 82.6.

The proportion of consumers who expect business conditions to improve fell two points to 18.8 percent, but the share of those anticipating worsening conditions fell 1.3 points to 14.2 percent.

The proportion of consumers who expect more jobs in the months ahead fell 2.1 points to 17.5 percent, while the share of those anticipating fewer jobs fell 1.5 points to 19 percent.

The proportion of consumers who expect their incomes to increase rose 1.5 points to 16.7 percent.