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US Consumer Confidence Rebounds Sharply in April: Reuters/UofM

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US Consumer Confidence Rebounds Sharply in April: Reuters/UofM

US consumer confidence rose more than forecast this month, as brighter job prospects and a stronger outlook helped boost sentiment after a long winter.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index increased from 80 to 82.6 in April, a nine-month high, the preliminary reading showed today. Economists forecast a slight gain to 81. Consumer sentiment last month had fallen to the lowest level since November.

Consumers’ appraisal of both the current situation and expectations improved in April. The survey’s gauge of current economic conditions jumped from 95.7 to 97.1. The barometer of consumer expectations rose from 70 to 73.3. One-year inflation expectations dropped from 3.2 percent to 3.1 percent, while the long-term inflation outlook rose from 2.9 percent to 3 percent.

Economists expect confidence to accelerate further with the arrival of warm weather. Brighter job prospects leading to higher wages are also expected to boost consumer spending and overall confidence. The US economy added 192,000 jobs last month, following a revised gain of 197,000. The jobless rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.6 percent. Wage growth was flat in March. Compared to the previous 12 months, average hourly earnings increased 2.1 percent, Labor Department data showed last week.

Retail sales edged up 0.3 percent in February. Retail revenues rose 0.8 percent last month, according to estimates. The Commerce Department will release official retail sales figures Monday.

“Economic news reaching consumers grew more favorable in early April,” said survey director Richard Curtin in a press release. “Net reports on changes in employment were more favorable, and negative mentions about current economic policies eased.”

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