Consumer Confidence in U.S. Climbed in April to Pandemic High
U.S. consumer confidence climbed sharply in April for a second month, reaching a pandemic high, as Americans grew more upbeat about the economy and job market.
The Conference Board’s index increased to 121.7, the highest since February last year, from a revised 109 reading in March, according to a Tuesday report. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the gauge to rise to 113. In the past two months, the reading has increased 31.3 points, the most in records back to 1967.
“Consumer confidence has rebounded sharply over the last two months,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “Consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, perhaps due to the improving job market and the recent round of stimulus checks.”
Americans are increasingly optimistic that the economy is improving as hiring accelerates and millions of people get vaccinated. As more businesses and cities reopen, consumers will have even more places to spend the savings they’ve accumulated during the pandemic. More than 43% of respondents said they plan to take a vacation in the next six months, nearly 10 percentage points more than in February.
The surge in confidence was led by the group’s measure of current conditions, which rose to 139.6, the highest in more than a year. At the same time, consumers’ economic expectations also advanced, though modestly.
Confidence among most income groups ticked up in the month, a sign that rising prices on some goods has not yet affected consumers’ economic outlook. Respondents said they expect inflation to rise in the next year.
Almost 38% of respondents said jobs were plentiful in April, also a pandemic high. A larger share of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the coming months.
As for consumers’ buying plans, more Americans said they plan to buy homes and cars compared to last month.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.