Economy Watch: Consumers Less Optimistic Despite Economic Growth

Consumer confidence about short- and long-term economic prospects declined in April, according to the Conference Board's latest Consumer Confidence Index,

shopping-mall-509536_1920American consumers felt a little less optimistic about the U.S. economy in April than they did in March, according to a recent report from the Conference Board. Its Consumer Confidence Index came in at 124.9 in March, but dropped to 120.3 in April, with consumer confidence for both the present and future dropping.

Consumers are still confident the economy will expand, despite being less optimistic about short-term business, employment and income prospects, said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco. Only 23 percent of consumers expect strong job gains in the coming months, down a bit from 23.8 percent in March. Also, 24.8 percent of consumers now expect business conditions to improve throughout the next six months, compared to 26.9 percent who said that in March.

Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its coincident indexes for the 50 states on Wednesday, pointing to decent growth in most of the U.S. economy. Over the past three months, the indexes increased in 45 states, decreased in three, and remained stable in two. In March, the indexes increased in 45 states and decreased in five.

The coincident indexes combine four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic. The four state-level variables in each coincident index are payroll employment; average hours worked in manufacturing; the state’s unemployment rate; and wages and salaries adjusted to take inflation into account. The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product, so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.