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Economy in Brief

Consumer Confidence Fell in April, As Expected
by Tom Moeller April 29, 2008

The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence in April fell 5.5% after a 13.7% m/m decline in March. That March decline was slightly less than indicated initially and the April drop about matched Consensus expectations.

The present conditions index led the April decline with a 10.9% m/m drop to the lowest level since late 2003. By region the index is off most notably in the Pacific, mid-Atlantic, the South Atlantic, and in the New England states.

Just 15.3% of respondents saw business conditions as good, the lowest since 2003. Jobs as plentiful were seen by a much lessened 16.6% while 27.9% saw jobs as hard to get, the highest since late 2004.

The expectations component of the index ticked up all of 1.4% after two months of double digit decline. The percentage of respondents expecting better business conditions and more jobs rose slightly while expectations for an increase in income fell. Expectations for the inflation rate surged again to 6.8%, the highest level since 2005.

Respondents planning to buy a household appliance rose slightly but remained well off the early 2007 highs. Plan to but a new automobile rose slightly m/m but also remained well off earlier highs.

Consumer Confidence Surveys: Can They Help Us Forecast Consumer Spending in Real Time? is a 2006 article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. It answers "no" and it is available here.

Conference Board  (SA, 1985=100) April March Y/Y % 2007 2006 2005
Consumer Confidence Index 62.3 65.9 -41.4 103.4 105.9 100.3
  Present Situation 80.7 90.6 -34.6 128.8 130.2 116.1
  Expectations 50.1 49.4 -43.2 86.4 89.7 89.7
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