U.S. Consumer Confidence Dips Amid Less Favorable View Of Current Conditions

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Reflecting a less favorable assessment of current business and labor market conditions, the Conference Board released a report on Tuesday showing a modest deterioration in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of April.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dipped to 82.3 in April from an upwardly revised 83.9 in March. Economists had expected the index to climb to 83.0 from the 82.3 originally reported for the previous month.

While the consumer confidence index decreased compared to the previous month's upwardly revised reading, it is still at its second best level since January of 2008.

The pullback by the index reflected a deterioration in consumers' appraisal of current conditions, with the present situation index sliding to 78.3 in April from 82.5 in March.

Consumers saying current business conditions are "good" edged down to 21.8 percent from 22.6 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" rose to 24.4 percent from 23.5 percent.

The Conference Board noted that consumers' assessment of the labor market was also slightly more negative compared to the previous month.

Consumers saying jobs are "plentiful" fell to 12.9 percent from 13.8 percent, while those saying jobs are "hard to get" rose to 32.5 percent from 31.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the report also showed that the expectations index was virtually unchanged compared to the previous month, inching up to 84.9 in April from 84.8 in March.

The Conference Board said the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months was unchanged at 17.4 percent, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen edged up to 10.3 percent from 10.1 percent.

Consumers were slightly more optimistic about the outlook for the labor market, with those expecting more jobs in the months ahead rising to 15.0 percent from 14.1 percent.

At the same time, the percentage of consumers expecting fewer jobs also ticked up to 17.9 percent from 17.5 percent.

The report also showed that consumers expecting an increase in income rose to 17.1 percent from 15.3 percent, while those expecting a drop in income also climbed to 12.9 percent from 11.5 percent.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, said, "While sentiment regarding current conditions may have slipped a bit, consumers do not foresee the economy, or the labor market, losing the momentum that has been building up over the past several months."

Last Friday, Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan released a separate report showing that consumer sentiment improved by even more than previously estimated in April.

The report showed that the final reading on the consumer sentiment index for April came in at 84.1 compared to the preliminary estimate of 82.6.

The upwardly revised reading reflects a notable increase from the final March reading of 80.0 and is well above economist estimates for a reading of 83.0.

With the bigger than expected upward revision, Reuters said the consumer sentiment index reached its highest level since last July.

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