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First Cut: Consumer Confidence Index nosedives in April as labor market deteriorates

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell sharply in April to 86.9 after 118.8 in March, and was the lowest since 86.4 in June 2014. The index was dragged down by a 90.3 point nosedive in the index for present conditions to 76.4, its lowest since 75.3 in December 2013. A more hopeful tone crept into the index for six month expectations with a 7.0 point increase to 93.8, but still in line with anticipation of recessionary conditions.

Negative contributions to the index were largest for the drop in present employment and present business conditions, and for expected personal income. There were modest positives from expected employment and expected business conditions. While consumers are deeply affected by widespread layoffs and great uncertainty about the present, they are not unhopeful that six months from now the economy will be on a better footing.

Nonetheless, confidence is now back to levels before the long recovery started to gain real traction and the labor market began to improve noticeably with better gains for earnings.

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