U.S. Consumer Confidence Index Trends Lower for the Third Consecutive Month in April 2024

The Conference Board, a non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank, founded in 1916, on Tuesday (4-30-24), released its Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for April 2024. The CCI Index declined in April for the third consecutive month, falling to a reading of 97.0 from a downwardly revised March reading of 103.1. The Conference Board notes that despite these three months of weakness, the gauge continues to move sideways within a relatively narrow range that’s largely held steady for more than two years.

The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions declined in April to a reading of 142.9 (195=100) from a downwardly revised March reading of 146.8.

The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions— declined to a reading of 66.4 in April (1985=100) from a slightly upwardly revised 74.0 in March. The Conference Board notes that any Expectations Index with a reading below 80 often signals a forthcoming recession.

Adding additional clarity and her expert analysis to the release of the CCI for April 2023, the Conference Board’s Chief Economist Dana Peterson – MS -Economics said, “Confidence retreated further in April, reaching its lowest level since July 2002, as consumers became less positive about the current labor market situation, and more concerned about future business conditions, job availability and income. Despite April’s dip the overall index, since mid-2022, optimism about the present situation continues to more than offset concerns about the future.”

Ms. Peterson continued, “In the month, confidence declined among consumers of all age groups and almost all income groups except for the $25,000 to $49,999 bracket. Nonetheless, consumers under 35 continue to express greater confidence than those over 35. In April, households with incomes below $25,000 and those with incomes above $75,000 reported the largest deteriorations in confidence. However, over a six-month basis, confidence for consumers earning less than $50,000 has been stable, but confidence among consumers earing more has weakened.”

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