Consumer Confidence Index Rebounds in April

NEW YORK - The Conference Board's monthly Consumer Confidence Index rose slightly to 65.4 in April after sharply declining to 63.8 in March (1985=100), the research organization reported late last month.
     The Present Situation Index increased to 39.6 from 37.5, while the Expectations Index rose to 82.6 from 81.3. The preliminary monthly results were based on a consumer survey done by the Nielsen Co. through April 14.
     "Consumer confidence, which had declined sharply in March, posted a modest gain in April," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. The index fell about 8 points between February and March.
     "Consumers' short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing," Franco said. "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."
     Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions, although mixed, improved in April.
     Those stating conditions are "good" decreased slightly to 14.8% from 15%. Those stating business conditions are "bad" also declined slightly to 36.4% from 36.6%. Consumers' assessment of the labor market was more favorable than last month. Those saying jobs are "hard to get" declined to 41.8% from 44.4%, while those stating jobs are "plentiful" increased to 5.2% from 4.6%.
     Consumers' short-term outlook, which had soured in March, improved moderately in April. While those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined to 18.8% from 20.8%, those anticipating business conditions to worsen decreased to 14.2% from 15.5%.
     Consumers were mixed about the labor market outlook for the next six months. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 17.5% from 19.6%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 19.0% from 20.5%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes improved to 16.7% from 15.2%.

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