According to the Conference Board, U.S. consumer confidence dropped in April to the lowest since July on more pessimistic views about the economic outlook, even as current conditions improved.
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which measures attitudes toward the economy and the job market, fell to 101.3 in April, down from 104 in March, marking the lowest level since July 2022.
The Conference Board’s Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—increased to 151.1 (1985=100) from 148.9 last month.
Based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, the company’s Expectations Index fell to 68.1 (1985=100) from 74.0. The Expectations Index now remains below 80, the level associated with a recession within the next year, every month since February 2022, except for a brief uptick in December 2022. The survey was taken from April 3, about three weeks after the bank failures in the U.S., to April 19.
“While consumers’ relatively favorable assessment of the current business environment improved somewhat in April, their expectations fell and remain below the level which often signals a recession looming in the short-term,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director, Economics at The Conference Board. “Consumers became more pessimistic about the outlook for both business conditions and labor markets. Compared to last month, fewer households expect business conditions to improve, and more expect worsening of conditions in the next six months. They also expect fewer jobs to be available over the short term. 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.”
Consumers’ assessment of current business conditions improved somewhat in April.
- 18.8 percent of consumers said business conditions were “good,” the same as last month; however, 18.1 percent said business conditions were “bad,” down from 19.3 percent.
Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market improved slightly.
- 48.4 percent of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” up slightly from 47.9 percent; and
- 11.1 percent of consumers said jobs were “hard to get,” down slightly from 11.4 percent last month.
Expectations Next Six Months
Consumers became more pessimistic about the short-term business conditions outlook in April.
- 13.5 percent of consumers expect business conditions to improve, down from 16.4 percent; and
- 21.5 percent expect business conditions to worsen, up from 19.2 percent.
Consumers’ assessment of the short-term labor market outlook was less positive.
- 12.5 percent of consumers expect more jobs to be available, down from 15.5 percent; and
- 21.0 percent anticipate fewer jobs, up slightly from 20.5 percent.
Consumers’ short-term income prospects were, on balance, somewhat more favorable.
- 15.7 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase, down slightly from 16.2 percent last month; and
- 11.6 percent expect their incomes will decrease, down from 13.8 percent last month.