Consumer Confidence Wobbles, But Still Moves Forward

Consumer confidence fell for the second-straight month in April, according to The Conference Board, as people grew more pessimistic about economic expectations.

The index fell to 69.2 from a downwardly revised 69.5 for March. An initial report pegged last month’s reading at 70.2 after the index reached a year-high in February.

The reading for April fell below analysts’ consensus of 69.5, according to Econoday. The data and research firm benchmarks the overall index at 100 in 1985.

A decline in short-term outlook from consumers drove the dip in confidence, according to Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s consumer research. More people expected business conditions to worsen in the next six months, up to 13.5% from 11.8% in March.

Most houses are bought with mortgages and interest rates and the availability of mortgage money are key issues for the hoped-for housing recovery. But the links among debts, housing and the economy run much deeper. Debt levels and especially a surge in household debt, such as experienced with mortgages beginning in 2000, played a big part in the housing boom and bust and the subsequent economic downturn.

Overall, consumers are more upbeat about the state of the economy, but they remain cautiously optimistic.

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