April consumer confidence jumps

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which had been on the decline for the past four months, jumped from 61.4 to 81.0 in April. Analysts said the index soared because consumers had an upbeat view of the economy after the war in Iraq ended within weeks and casualties were limited. "The swift outcome in the Middle East has helped quell consumers’ short-term concerns," says Lynn Franco,

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which had been on the decline for the past four months, jumped from 61.4 to 81.0 in April.

Analysts said the index soared because consumers had an upbeat view of the economy after the war in Iraq ended within weeks and casualties were limited.

"The swift outcome in the Middle East has helped quell consumers’ short-term concerns," says Lynn Franco, cirector of The Conference Board’s consumer research center. "While an increase of this magnitude occurred after the Persian Gulf War in 1991, this post-war surge differs in that both components of the Index posted gains."

Franmco added that the 14.1-point increase in the Present Situation Index, especially in labor market conditions, could very well signal a turnaround in confidence and a more favorable outlook for consumer spending.

The employment outlook was also more optimistic. Consumers anticipating more jobs to become available increased to 16.7% from 10.8%, while those expecting fewer jobs fell to 20.9% from 26.5%. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes rose to 17.1%, from 15.8%.

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