Consumer Confidence for the month of April was released earlier this morning and handily topped expectations coming in at a level of 129.2 vs 126.8. Despite the rebound, the headline confidence reading remains well off its cycle high reading of 137.9 from six months ago back in October.
One reason for the bounce in sentiment was jobs. After a sharp decline in sentiment towards the employment environment last month, the percentage of consumers who feel that jobs are ‘plentiful’ erased all of February’s weakness and is once again back at its highest levels of the economic cycle. That didn’t take long! This is an important development given the fact that this reading tends to roll-over ahead of recessions. When we saw the sharp decline last month, it raised some concerns, but now that it’s right back at its prior highs, those fears can be set aside.
Finally, with sentiment improving and the stock market rallying, consumers are feeling more confident about the stock market too. In this month’s survey, the percentage of consumers expecting higher stock prices rose to 37.2% from 37.1%, while the percentage expecting lower stock prices dropped from 25.8% down to 24.1%. While it is never a good thing to see complacency towards the market on the rise, these readings aren’t near the extreme levels we saw at points in 2018. Start a two-week free trial to Bespoke Institutional to access our full suite of market and economic research.