U.S. consumer confidence holds steady in April

Consumer confidence basically was unchanged in April as consumers were cautiously optimistic about current conditions, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index decreased slightly to 69.2 in April from 69.5 in March. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a critical part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months fell to 18.8 percent from 19.3 percent. Those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 13.7 percent to 14.2 percent.

Additionally, 16.9 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 17.4 percent in March; however, those expecting fewer jobs fell from 18.5 percent to 18 percent.

"Consumer confidence virtually was unchanged in April following a modest decline in March," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "As was the case last month, the slight dip was prompted by a moderation in consumers' short-term outlook while their assessment of current conditions continued to improve. Overall, consumers are more upbeat about the state of the economy, but they remain cautiously optimistic."

Date : 4/27/2012