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US Consumer Confidence Slips in April: Conference

H.S. Borji
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US Consumer Confidence Slips in April: Conference

US consumer confidence eased slightly in April, as Americans were less optimistic about the labour market and overall business climate.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell from 83.9 to 82.3 in April. Economists in a Reuters poll forecast a reading of 83.

Consumer confidence, which measures personal confidence in economic activity, is used to index consumers’ willingness to spend money.

Consumers’ appraisal of the current economic situation eased slightly this month. Respondents claiming business conditions are “bad” increased from 23.5 percent to 24.4 percent. Respondents claiming jobs are “plentiful” fell from 13.8 percent to 12.9 percent. More respondents said jobs are “hard to get” in April than the previous month, data showed.

Consumers’ expectations were relatively unchanged in April, with 17.4 percent of respondents expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months. This rate was unchanged from the previous month. Respondents anticipating a decline in business conditions increased slightly, data showed.

“Consumer confidence declined slightly in April, as consumers assessed current business and labor market conditions less favorably than in March,” said Conference Board director Lynn Franco in a press release. “However, their expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market held steady. Thus, 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.”

The US labour market improved in April, according to a broad consensus of market analysts awaiting the Labor Market’s nonfarm payrolls report on Friday. Private employers are expected to have added more than 200,000 jobs this month. The unemployment rate is expected to have fallen from 6.7 percent to 6.6 percent.

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