The Conference Board revealed a mild drop in how consumers feel about the current state of the economy, while they notched up their outlook for the future.
Overall, the reading of consumer confidence dipped to 82.3 in April from 83.9 in March. Analysts had predicted a slight increase from the prior month during which the headline reading rose to a six-year high. The current situation index eased by 4.2-points to 78.3 while the expectations index advanced by 0.1 to 84.9. While the news is hardly a harbinger of gloom, the critical employment measures hidden within the report show little evidence that the labor market is on the cusp of a boom anytime soon.
Those expecting jobs to be plentiful edged down while those claiming jobs were hard to get rose. As a result the so-called labor differential worsened and is closely watched as a predictor of the trend in the underlying unemployment rate. Fewer consumers plan to buy automobiles while more expect to buy either new or existing homes. In each case, the balance in April matches that of one year ago perhaps giving a sense that little has changed for many consumers as the economy is slow to heal. The fewest number of consumers intend to purchase a major appliance in five months with intentions to buy refrigerators, television sets and vacuum cleaners all lower.
Chart shows Conference Board Consumer Confidence