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Decreased Consumer Confidence in the US

Alex Silverman

By Alex Silverman
On May 8, 2013


Lackluster job prospects caused the consumer sentiment rating to drop in April while consumer confidence rebounded from a March downturn.

The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 61.9 in March to 68.1 in April, while the Consumer Sentiment Index fell from 78.6 to 76.4 in the same period. Consumer confidence and sentiment reflect people's opinion on the health of the economy, and are released by economic groups the Conference Board and Thomson Reuters respectively.

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said that the average consumer bases their faith in the economy on their perception of three markets: finance, housing, and labor. The most important, he added, is the labor market because people feel better spending when their source of income is secure.

Only 25 percent of those surveyed for consumer sentiment said they expect unemployment to improve in the next year, potentially contributing to the small decline in the figure. The report cited rising home prices and stock values as factors stopping the rating from falling further.

Goldstein added that recent month to month changes in the Consumer Confidence Survey proved insignificant. "We've basically been stuck for a few months, but we're almost four years out of the recession and the rating is not much higher than it was then," he said.  

Senior economics major Ethan Goldspiel said he has seen little evidence that the economy is improving. "I have a lot of friends who are still looking for jobs," he said.

Junior finance and accounting major Matt Koller does think the economy is recovering because of a strong stock market. This directly affects people's pensions, he added, and should drive consumer sentiment in the coming months. 

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