NEW YORK-The consumer confidence index edged down 0.3 point in April, finishing the month at 69.2, according to The Conference Board, which provides the monthly indicator based on a survey of consumers conducted by Nielsen.
The indicator’s component indexes, present situation and expectations, headed in different directions in the April survey. The expectations index fell 1.4 points to 81.1, while the present situation index gained 1.5 points to 51.4.
Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, said the April number followed a modest decline in the index in March. “As was the case last month, the slight dip was prompted by a moderation in consumers’ short-term outlook, while their assessment of current conditions continues to improve,” Franco said.
This mixed assessment was reflected when the surveyed consumers were asked to rate business conditions and the job market. While the percentage of consumers who said current business conditions are “good” rose, so did the percentage of those who rated current business conditions as “bad.” In addition, the percentages of consumers who stated that jobs are “hard to get” and who said jobs are “plentiful” both dropped in April.
Looking ahead over the next six months, the percentage of consumers who expected business conditions to improve declined, while the percentage of those anticipating worse business conditions increased. Also, the percentages of consumers who foresaw more jobs and of those anticipating fewer jobs both dropped.
Franco said, “Overall, consumers are more upbeat about the state of the economy, but they remain cautiously optimistic.”