The confidence of American consumers rose by more than expected in April, indicating that the economy may be gaining steam after stumbling in late 2018 and early 2019.
The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence rose to 129.2 in April from 124.2 in March, continuing its rebound from February’s plunge. Economists had forecast a rise to 127.1.
The better-than-expected number is an indication that consumers are feeling optimistic as the second quarter of 2019 begins. On Monday, the government reported that consumer spending had jumped higher in March.
“Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue growing at a solid pace into the summer months. These strong confidence levels should continue to support consumer spending in the near-term,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.
The improvement in consumer sentiment included both assessments of the present situation and expectations for the near-term future.
The outlook for jobs also improved, with the share of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead rising from 16.8 percent to 17.2 percent, while the share anticipating fewer jobs fell from 14.3 percent to 13.2 percent. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” jumped from 42.5 percent to 46.8 percent, while those who said jobs are “hard to get” edged downward from 13.8 percent to 13.3 percent.
Expectations for inflation fell from already low levels, also echoing Monday’s consumer-expenditure release showing that core inflation was flat in March.