NEW YORK — Consumer confidence fell for a third consecutive month in April as the outlook dimmed on the prospects of weak income growth in a tight job market.
The Consumer Confidence Index, based on a survey by the Conference Board, fell to 97.7 in April, down from 103 in March. The index is at its lowest since November, when it hit 92.6.
“Less robust current conditions and a more cautious outlook have consumers feeling less confident in April than in March,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center at the Conference Board, in a statement. In April 2004, the index stood at 93.
Franco said the Conference Board’s Present Situation Index, down to 113.6 in April from 117 in March, “remains at levels indicative of a healthy economy.” However, the Expectations Index dropped to 87.2 in April from 93.7 in March, which is the lowest level since July 2003 when it read 86.3.
“Consumers do not anticipate an improvement in economic growth nor in their incomes. And they expect an even tighter job market over the summer months,” Franco said.
Consumers saying business conditions are “good” increased to 27 percent in April from 26.3 percent in March, but those saying conditions are “bad” rose to 17.7 percent from 15.8 percent. In addition, consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” fell to 20.4 percent in April from 21.8 percent in the prior month. Those saying jobs are “hard to get,” however, fell to 23.3 percent from 23.8 percent last month.
Consumers expecting business conditions to improve dropped to 17.8 percent in April from 19.3 percent in March, and those expecting business conditions to worsen rose to 9.7 percent in April from 8.2 percent in March. Those surveyed who are expecting more available jobs in the coming months fell to 14.2 percent from 15.1 percent, while consumers expecting fewer jobs in that time increased to 18 percent from 15.8 percent in April.