The FINANCIAL — Consumers are feeling less upbeat about the economy this month amid a slowdown in job creation and worries about the near-term outlook, according to Nasdaq.
The Conference Board, a private research group, said on April 28 its index of consumer confidence decreased to 95.2 in April from a revised 101.4 in March, which had been first reported as 101.3. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a level of 102.5 for this month.
The present situation index, a gauge of consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions, fell to 106.8 from a revised 109.5, first set at 109.1. And consumer expectations for economic activity over the next six months dropped to 87.5 from an unrevised 96.0.
“Consumer confidence, which had rebounded in March, gave back all of the gain and more in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the board. “Coupled with waning expectations, there is little to suggest that economic momentum will pick up in the months ahead.”
In the second half of 2014, consumers enjoyed a windfall from plunging gasoline prices and the labor market was steadily gaining strength. Consumer spirits soared in response. But pump prices–still down almost $1.20 from a year ago–have climbed by about 27 cents since the beginning of 2015. The latest jobs report, meanwhile, showed a slowdown in hiring.
“This month’s retreat [in confidence] was prompted by a softening in current conditions, likely sparked by the recent lackluster performance of the labor market, and apprehension about the short-term outlook,” Ms. Franco said.
According to the Conference Board, consumers in April are less optimistic about the short-term outlook.
The survey found 19.1% of consumers in April think jobs are “plentiful,” compared with 21% who thought that in March. Another 26.4% this month describe jobs as “hard to get,” up from 25.5% saying that last month.
The share of respondents anticipating more jobs will be created in the next six months fell to 13.8% this month from 15.3% in March.
The survey showed 18.3% of households this month expect their incomes to rise in the next six months, versus 18.8% saying that in March. Only 11.2% think their incomes will decline in the next six months compared with last month’s response rate of 9.7%.