United States: Pandemic sends consumer confidence to almost six-year low in April as job losses deepen
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 86.9 in April from 118.8 in March (previously reported: 120.0). Consequently, the index plunged below the 100-threshold that separates pessimism from optimism. April’s result came in below market expectations of 90.0 and was the worse level of confidence since June 2014.
American households’ assessment of the current state of the economy suffered the largest downgrade on record in April, plunging 90 points in the month. This came as consumers’ confidence in the labor market is being eroded by surging unemployment and suspended economic activity.
On the other hand, households’ short-term expectations improved in April, after hitting an over-three year low in March, likely a result of recent news that many states are re-opening or in talks to re-open their economies quicker than previously expected. Consumers were more optimistic about the outlook for the economy in April, while their take on future labor market conditions was mixed as the portion of consumers expecting an increase in jobs rose, but the portion anticipating fewer jobs also edged higher. Meanwhile, households were more pessimistic about their short-term income prospects. Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, noted that “this could have repercussions for spending as the recovery takes hold.”