Consumers have elevated their level of confidence over its position in the middle to later portions of 2011, but after getting to a certain point, many of the confidence reports we are seeing are hitting a plateau. And the widely attended Conference Board reading is no exception.
The top-line April Consumer Confidence Index stands at 69.2, down just a smidge from the March result of 69.5. Expectations are down a bit more, from 82.5 to 81.1, but the Present Situation Index actually improved from 49.4 to 51.4. Conference Board’s underlying research is conducted by Nielsen.
CB’s Lynn Franco noted, “Consumer Confidence was virtually unchanged in April, following a modest decline 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 continued to improve. Overall, consumers are more upbeat about the state of the economy, but they remain cautiously optimistic.”
The number of consumers stating current conditions are good, as well paradoxically as the number saying current conditions are bad, both increased. Good went from 14.3% to 15.3%, but bad went from 33.2% to 33.5%.
37.5% believe jobs are hard to get, a decline from March’s 40.7% benchmark. But there was yet another paradoxical note, with 8.4% saying jobs are now plentiful, down from 9.0% who thought that a month ago.
Expectations for an improvement in the business climate decreased slightly from 19.3% to 18.8%, and expectations for them to worsen increased from 13.7% to 14.2%.