The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased in April to a five-month high.
The index stands at 68.1, up from 61.9 in March, according to data released today by the New York-based private research group.
“Consumer confidence improved in April, as consumers’ expectations about the short-term economic outlook and their income prospects improved,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “However, 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. Thus, while expectations appear to have bounced back, it is too soon to tell if confidence is actually on the mend.”
Bloomberg said this morning that gains in the stock market, an increase in property values and cheaper prices at the gas pump are helping to stabilize household wealth. A growing share of consumers expecting a pickup in incomes may help fuel the pace of consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
The Conference Board’s gauge of consumer present conditions rose to 60.4 in April from 59.2 in March. The measure of expectations for the next six months climbed to a five-month high of 73.3 from 63.7.
Bloomberg said the share of those expecting their incomes to increase in the next six months advanced to 16.8 percent, the highest since April 2011, from 14.6 percent. Those expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months rose to 16.9 percent in April from 15 percent the prior month.
The share of consumers expecting more jobs to become available in the next six months rose to 14.2 percent in April from 13 percent in February. The number of respondents who said jobs are currently plentiful advanced to 9.8 percent in April from 9.5 percent.