Consumer confidence moved back up in April, according to a Conference Board report released today.
After falling 12.2% in March, April's figure puts confidence up 10% from revised March figures. With a Consumer Confidence Index reading of 68.1, these newest numbers still fall well below the index's 1985 100-point benchmark.
"Consumer Confidence improved in April, as consumers' expectations about the short-term economic outlook and their income prospects improved," said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco in a statement today. "However, consumers' confidence has been challenged several times over the past few months by such events as the fiscal cliff, the payroll tax hike and the sequester. Thus, while expectations appear to have bounced back, it is too soon to tell if confidence is actually on the mend."
The index is comprised of responses from a random sample of consumers. In the latest data, more respondents considered business conditions to be "good" (17.2% compared to the previous month's 16.4%) and less thought conditions were "bad" (down 1 percentage point to 28.1%).
Opinions were split on jobs. Although more consumers (up 0.3 points to 9.8%) thought jobs were "plentiful," the jump was bigger (up 1.7 points to 37.1%) in respondents who believe jobs are "hard to get."
Looking ahead, consumers remain optimistic about the future. With across-the-board improvements, 16.9% believe that business conditions will advance in the next six months, 14.2% believe the labor market will improve, and 16.8% expect a rise in their personal income.