The Thompson Reuters / University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index final report for April came in at 69.8, little changed from the April preliminary 69.6. The Briefing.com consensus expectation had been for 69.6 and Briefing.com’s own forecast was for 70.0. The latest number represents a 75% retracement over the last two months of the sharp decline in February.
The Latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through April 14. The 65.4 reading is a point above the consensus estimate of 64.4, reported by Briefing.com and a modest improvement over the March slight upward revision to 63.8 (from 63.4). Consumer Confidence has lagged in this recovery, just as it did in the recoveries from the 1991-92 and 2001 recessions. All three recoveries have been characterized as “jobless.” Not surprisingly, consumer confidence is apparently a proxy for poor employment levels.
The Index of Small Business Optimism gave up 2.6 points in March, falling to 91.9. Small business owners and consumers are struggling to escape the pessimism of the recession.
Consumer and small business sentiment remain near levels associated with other recent recessions, but the trend has been strong improvement. Is the trend changing?
In a stunning reversal from the recent improving trend, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index preliminary report for March came in at 68.2.