Consumer Confidence Reaching Pre-Pandemic Levels

In April, consumer confidence in the United States rose once again for the second consecutive month, reaching the highest level tracked since February 2020 before the pandemic took oppressive hold of the nation and strangled the economy.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index has issued a report showing high numbers for the month of April. The report from the board shows that the Index is now at 121,7, which is an increase from 109.0 reported in March. This happened alongside other measurements which also grew, including the Expectations Index, which is “based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions” and the Present Situation Index, which is “based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions.” The Expectations Index went up slightly from 108.3 in March to 109.8 in April and the Present Situation Index rose from 110.1 to 139.6.

“Consumer confidence has rebounded sharply over the last two months and is now at its highest level since February 2020,” stated the Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, Lynn Franco. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved significantly in April, suggesting the economic recovery strengthened further in early Q2. Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook held steady this month. Consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, perhaps due to the improving job market and the recent round of stimulus checks. Short-term inflation expectations held steady in April, but remain elevated. Vacation intentions posted a healthy increase, likely boosted by the accelerating vaccine rollout and further loosening of pandemic restrictions.”

Overall, consumers’ feelings about the current market conditions seemed to have gone up a notable amount this past month. The Conference Board reported:

The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 18.3 percent to 23.3 percent, while the proportion claiming business conditions are “bad” fell from 30.1 percent to 24.8 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 26.5 percent to 37.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 18.5 percent to 13.2 percent.”

The Hopes of consumers’ about the short-term standing only went up slightly, however. The percentage of people who anticipate that all business conditions getting better over the next six months was raised by a moderate amount from 40.3% to 40.5%, “while the proportion expecting business conditions to worsen stood relatively unchanged at 11.9 percent.”

The overall view of the consumers concerning the job market was less than optimistic. “The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell from 35.9 percent to 34.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 14.4 percent to 15.5 percent,” stated the document. “Regarding short-term income prospects, 17.9 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, up from 15.4 percent in March. Those expecting their incomes to decrease fell to 10.9 percent, down from 12.6 percent.”

In a report from The Associated Press, economists seem to think that the rise in the confidence of consumers will lead to a boost in the general economic growth as consumers seek to increase their spending as lockdown restrictions begin to fall away.

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