US Economy

Consumer confidence lags in April as Americans are less optimistic about economy

Key Points
  • The Consumer Confidence Index fell in April to 120.3, after hitting 125.6 in March, a high not seen since December 2000.
  • The Conference Board said Tuesday that American consumers' assessment of current economic conditions has dropped lately.
  • Consumers are also less upbeat about the job market.
Shoppers pass through Herald Square in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Consumers' assessment of current economic conditions fell in April, as fewer people believe business conditions are "good," according to the latest data from The Conference Board.

The Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 120.3 in April, while economists were expecting the index to only fall to 122.9 for the month, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

The closely monitored index last hit 125.6 in March, its highest level since December 2000. Prior to that, the index stood at 116.1 in February.

"Consumer confidence ... still remains at strong levels," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement on Tuesday. "Consumers assessed current business conditions and, to a lesser extent, the labor market less favorably [in April] than in March."

"Looking ahead, consumers were somewhat less optimistic about the short-term outlook for business conditions, employment and income prospects," Franco added.

Those individuals saying business conditions are "good" declined to 30.2 percent in April from 32.4 percent, while those saying business conditions are "bad" increased slightly, to 13.8 percent from 13.1 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was also less upbeat for the month, the survey showed. The proportion of people expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 23.0 percent from 23.8 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 13.