US consumer confidence slides in April
U.S. consumer confidence fell this month to the lowest level in four months, knocked down by a slowdown in hiring.
The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index fell to 95.2 in April from 101. 4 in March, the lowest reading since December’s 93.1.
Consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions fell for the third straight month, and their expectations for the future fell as well.
Lynn Franco, the Conference Board’s director of economic indicators, blamed “the recent lackluster performance of the labor market.” The American economy generated just 126,000 jobs last month, breaking a 12-month streak of at least 200,000 new jobs a month; 31 states registered job losses in March.
Consumers’ view of the current job market deteriorated in April. They were also more likely to say that there would be fewer jobs and that their own incomes would be lower in six months. The share saying they planned to buy a car or a major appliance within six months fell. The decline in confidence hit all age groups.
Also weighing on consumers’ spirits: Gasoline prices, which tumbled to a nationwide average low of US$2.03 a gallon in late January, have bounced back up to US$2.55 a gallon, according to AAA. That may be dampening the desire and ability of Americans to go shopping. Still, gasoline prices were more than a US$1 higher, or US$3.70, a year ago.