US consumers are more confident about the economy in April

30 April 2013 16:55  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US consumers were more confident about the economy in April, the Conference Board said on Tuesday, although it is too soon to say that general sentiment about business and employment situations is really on the mend.

The board, a 96-year-old business analysis firm in New York City, said that its closely watched consumer confidence index (CCI) rose to 68.1 this month, an increase of 6.2 points from the March reading of 61.9.

The April gain in the index followed a downturn in March.

The CCI measures current consumer confidence against a baseline level set at 100 in 1985.

Lynn Franco, the board’s director of economic indicators, said the index improvement this month reflects gains in two subsidiary survey categories, consumer expectations about short-term economic prospects and improving income potential.

Franco cautioned, however, that the April gain does not furnish the sort of certainty that would signal a solid basis for consumer confidence.

“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,” she said.

“Thus, while expectations appear to have bounced back, it is too soon to tell if confidence is actually on the mend,” she added.

For example, the board cited another subsidiary index, consumer expectations for improving business conditions, which rose to 17.2% in April from the March measure of 16.4%. While that is an improvement, it still shows very low expectations for a strong recovery.

In addition, the board said, consumers who feel that jobs are hard to get increased to 37.1% in April from the March level of 35.4%.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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