Consumer confidence in the U.S. has deteriorated by much more than anticipated in the month of April, according to a report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slumped to 101.3 in April from a revised 104.0 in March. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 104.0 from the 104.2 originally reported for the previous month.
The bigger than expected decrease by the headline index reflected a notable deterioration in consumer expectations, with the expectations index tumbling to 68.1 in April from 74.0 in March.
“Compared to last month, fewer households expect business conditions to improve and more expect worsening of conditions in the next six months,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director, Economics at The Conference Board. “They also expect fewer jobs to be available over the short term.”
He added, “April’s decline in consumer confidence reflects particular deterioration in expectations for consumers under 55 years of age and for households earning $50,000 and over.”
Meanwhile, the report said the present situation index rose to 151.1 in April from 148.8 in March, as consumers’ assessment of both current business conditions and the labor market improved slightly.
Ozyildirim said consumer inflation expectations over the next 12 months were essentially unchanged at 6.2 percent, down substantially from the peak of 7.9 percent reached last year but still elevated.
“Overall purchasing plans for homes, autos, appliances, and vacations all pulled back in April, a signal that consumers may be economizing amid growing pessimism,” Ozyildirim added.
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