Consumer confidence ticks upward in April


The latest consumer check-up by the Conference Board found a small uptick in the economic sentiments of consumers, but not enough to make up for ground lost in March. CB noted that despite the welcome gain, confidence remains weak.

The overall confidence level is still above the par score of 50, and improved to 65.4 after weighing in at 63.8 in March. But it still has some ground to make up to return to the score of 72.0 registered in February.

Consumers are not particularly happy with what’s going on right now. The Present Situation score improved, but still is at a lackluster 39.6. It stood at 37.5 in March.

Expectations are much better and also improved slightly. The Expectations Index went from 81.3 in March to 82.6 in April.

CB’s Lynn Franco commented, “Consumer confidence, which had declined sharply in March, posted a modest gain in April. Consumers’ short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing. 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 bunched to the middle when asked about business conditions over the next six months. 18.8% said they will improve, down from 20.8% in March. But only 14.2% said they would worsen, also down from March when pessimism was the order of the say for 15.5%.

RBR-TVBR observation: The confidence reports we’re seeing are still producing mixed results, but most have pointed down as new-year optimism eroded away. But the uptick reported by Conference Board, modest though it may be, is better than a continued downward spiral. One thing that would help consumer confidence to go up is gas prices going down. Is that going to happen anytime soon?