New York—U.S. consumer confidence hit a 14-month high in April as vaccination numbers rose and pandemic-related restrictions eased.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 121.7 in April compared with 109 in March, exceeding analyst estimates of 113.
It’s the highest level the index has reached since February 2020, though it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved significantly in April, suggesting the economic recovery strengthened further in early Q2,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, in a press release announcing the results.
Consumers were optimistic about their current financial prospects.
The Present Situation Index, which measures consumers’ outlook on current business and labor market conditions, rose to 139.6 from 110.1 last month.
“Consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, perhaps due to the improving job market and the recent round of stimulus checks,” said Franco.
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The percent of consumers that said business conditions are “good,” increased to 23.3 percent month-over-month from 18.3 percent. Those who said conditions were “bad” decreased to 24.8 percent compared with 30.1 percent in March.
Consumer outlook also improved in regard to the labor market, with 37.9 percent of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” compared with 26.5 percent last month.
The percentage of those who said jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 13.2 percent from 18.5 percent.
Consumers’ optimism when looking to the short term saw a slight increase.
The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, rose to 109.8 from 108.3 last month.
The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 40.5 percent from 40.3 percent.
There was no change in the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to worsen, remaining at 11.9 percent.
Consumers also took a slightly less optimistic view on the labor market.
Fewer consumers expect to see more jobs in the months ahead, with that percentage falling to 34.5 from 35.9 percent last month. Meanwhile, the percentage of consumers expecting to see fewer jobs increased to 15.5 percent, compared with 14.4 percent in March.
Looking at short-term income, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase improved to 17.9 percent from 15.4 percent in March.
The percentage of consumers expecting a decrease was down to 10.9 percent, compared with 12.6 percent in the previous month.