Index: Consumers more confident

Lynn Franco
Lynn Franco

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more upbeat assessments of current business and labor conditions as well as more optimistic expectations.

The Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index rose five points to 129.2. The gain doesn’t offset a 7.3-point drop in March or boost the index back to the levels of the fall. Still, the latest reading portends continued growth.

“Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue growing at a solid pace into the summer months. These strong confidence levels should continue to support consumer spending in the near term,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

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

For April, assessments of current conditions pushed the present situation component of the index up 5.3 points to 168.3.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the index was based who described business conditions as “good” rose 2.6 points to 37.3 percent. The share of those who called conditions “bad” fell seven-tenths of a point to 11.7 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs are “plentiful” rose 4.3 points to 46.8 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” fell a half point to 13.3 percent.

The expectations component of the index increased 4.7 points to 103.

The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose 2.7 points to 19.9 percent. The proportion of those anticipating worsening conditions fell nine-tenths of a point to 9.1 percent.

The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months rose four-tenths of a point to 17.2 percent. The proportion of those anticipating fewer job openings fell 1.1 points to 13.2 percent.

While 21.5 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase, up a half point from March, 7 percent said they anticipate less income, down four-tenths of a point.