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Consumer Confidence Falls, Home Sales Tick Up

Consumer confidence in the economy fell in April, according to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index.

What’s going on: Confidence decreased to 101.3 on the organization’s scale, from 104.0 in March.

  • While consumers’ assessment of current labor and business market conditions improved in April—rising to 151.1 from 148.9 in March—the short-term outlook on the same fell to 68.1 from 74.0.

What it means: “While consumers’ relatively favorable assessment of the current business environment improved somewhat in April, their expectations fell and remain below the level which often signals a recession looming in the short-term,” said Conference Board Senior Director of Economics Ataman Ozyildirim.

  • “Consumers became more pessimistic about the outlook for both business conditions and labor markets. Compared to last month, fewer households expect business conditions to improve and more expect worsening of conditions in the next six months. They also expect fewer jobs to be available over the short term.”

In (better) related news: Sales of new single-family homes increased 9.6% in March, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

  • Sales rose to 683,000 units from 623,000 units at the annual rate in February, strengthened by activity in the Midwest and West.
  • While new home sales have gone steadily up since bottoming out last July, affordability and an uncertain economic outlook continue to challenge the housing market.
  • Over the past year, sales of new single-family homes have fallen 3.4%.
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