Rising gas prices and weaker job and economic expectations spelled more bad news for consumer confidence in April, The Conference Board reported today.
The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 104 this month from 108.2 in March, as consumers grew warier about current and future economic conditions.
“Unlike the decline in March, which was solely the result of apprehension about the short-term outlook, this month’s decline was a combination of weakening expectations and a less favorable assessment of present-day conditions,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. “Rising prices at the gas pump continue to play a key role in dampening consumers’ short-term expectations. The decline in the Present Situation Index — the first decline in six months — warrants monitoring in the months ahead, as further declines would suggest a softening in growth.”
Just 26.5 percent of consumers claim current-day economic conditions are “good,” down from 28.6 percent in March. Those saying conditions are “bad” edged up to 15 percent from 14.5 percent.
More consumers (20.4 percent) said jobs are currently “hard to get,” up from 18.9 percent in March, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 27.8 percent from 30.3 percent.
As for the short-term outlook, more consumers (10.2 percent) expect business conditions to worsen in the next six months, up from 9.8 percent in March, while just 13.5 percent anticipate an improvement, down from 14.5 percent last month.
The outlook for the labor market was a bit brighter in respect to job availability but not incomes. The share of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged up to 12.9 percent from 12.7 percent, while just 17 percent think they will see an increase in pay, down from 18 percent in March.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.