After hitting a post-recession high, the consumer confidence index, reported by the Conference Board, declined in April. Consumers were less optimistic about both the current situation and the near term outlook, compared with last month.
The Consumer Confidence Index declined to 120.3 in April, from 124.9 in March. Both the present situation index and the expectations index dropped. The present situation index dropped from 143.9 to 140.6 and the expectations index decreased from 112.3 to 106.7.
Consumers were less optimistic about current business conditions. The share of respondents reporting business conditions “good” decreased by 2.2 percentage points from 32.4% to 30.2%, while the shares of respondents reporting business conditions “bad” and “ normal” increased by 0.7 and 1.5 percentage points, respectively.
Expectations of business conditions over the next six months softened. The share of respondents expecting future business conditions to worsen increased by 2.4 percentage points from 8.5% to 10.9%, with the net gain coming from the net declines in the shares of respondents expecting business conditions to be better (2.1 percentage points) and to be the same (0.3 percentage point).
Similar to business conditions, both consumers’ assessments of current employment conditions and expectations of employment over the next six months were unfavorable in April.
For current employment conditions, the share of respondents reporting that jobs were “plentiful” dropped from 31.8% to 30.8%, while assessments of “jobs not so plentiful” increased by 0.9 percentage point and “jobs hard to get” increased by 0.1 percentage point.
As for expectations of employment, the share of respondents expecting “more jobs” in the coming six months declined by 0.8 percentage point from 23.8% to 23.0%, while expectations of “fewer jobs” and “same” increased 0.4 percentage point each.
The Conference Board also reported the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months. There were 5.8% of respondents planning to buy a home in April, compared with 6.2% in March. Despite the monthly volatility, the trend in the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months has been climbing.