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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Confidence Falters
by Tom Moeller  April 28, 2015

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declined 6.1% in April to 95.2 (+16.5% y/y) after rising to 101.4 during March, revised from 101.3. The latest figure was the lowest since December and missed expectations for 102.2 in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 45% correlation between the level of confidence and the three-month change in real personal consumption expenditures.

The expectations figure declined 8.9% (+4.3% y/y) to 87.5, the lowest reading since September. The reading of the present situation fell 2.5% to 106.8, but remained roughly one-third higher than 12 months earlier.

Jobs were viewed as plentiful by a lessened 19.1% of respondents, the lowest percentage this year. Jobs were viewed as hard to get by an increased 26.4%, also the most this year. A lessened 26.5% viewed business conditions as good.

For six months ahead, business conditions were expected to be better by 16.0%, down from the August high of 20.8%. More jobs were expected by 13.8% versus the high of 18.7% nine months ago. The inflation rate was expected to fall to 4.8%, the lowest since early-2007. A somewhat higher 5.2% planned to buy a home within the next six months but that was down slightly from the highs of the last two years.

Confidence amongst all age groups deteriorated this month. Confidence amongst individuals aged 35-54 years fell to its lowest since November as did confidence amongst those over age 55. Confidence amongst individuals under age 35 fell to nearly the lowest level this year.

The Consumer Confidence data is available in Haver's CBDB database. The total indexes appear in USECON and the market expectations are in AS1REPNA.

The Government Sponsored Enterprises: Past and Future from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia can be found here.

Conference Board (SA, 1985=100) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Consumer Confidence Index 95.2 101.4 98.8 16.5 86.9 73.2 67.1
  Present Situation 106.8 109.5 112.1 36.1 87.3 67.6 49.8
  Expectations 87.5 96.0 90.0 4.3 86.6 77.0 78.6
Consumer Confidence By Age Group
  Under 35 Years 114.8 124.9 114.2 9.3 106.6 93.1 86.5
  Aged 35-54 Years 95.6 104.8 107.0 10.1 92.4 76.8 68.5
  Over 55 Years 83.6 89.7 85.9 21.5 73.7 61.2 56.7
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