U.S. consumer confidence eased in April as views on current conditions slightly worsened, offsetting more optimistic future expectations.
The Conference Board’s index decreased to 107.3 from an upwardly revised 107.6 reading in March. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 108.2.
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Inflation — running at the fastest pace since 1981 — is increasingly taking a bite out of paychecks, and more dollars are being spent on essentials like food, gas and shelter. While consumers are so far hanging tough and continuing to spend, some economists worry that demand will eventually slow to a point that could cause a recession. Inflation-adjusted spending data will be released Friday.
Even so, Americans are experiencing one of the hottest job markets in decades, marked by low unemployment and high demand for workers that’s boosting wages. The economy probably had another solid month of job growth in April, according to a Bloomberg survey ahead of government data next week.
The Conference Board’s gauge of current conditions declined to 152.6, while the expectations index improved to 77.2.
“Concerns about inflation retreated from an all-time high in March but remained elevated,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.
“Looking ahead, inflation and the war in Ukraine will continue to pose downside risks to confidence and may further curb consumer spending this year,” she said.
Respondents views of current business conditions were mixed, and views on the labor market — while still very upbeat — settled back a bit.
–With assistance from Chris Middleton.