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Consumer confidence up in April


New York City U.S. consumer confidence rose in April to the highest level since September 2008, according to the U.S. Conference Board.

The Board's index of consumer attitudes rose for the second straight month in April to 57.9 from a downwardly revised 52.3 in March.

The median of forecasts from analysts polled by Reuters was for a reading of 53.5 for April.

The expectations index increased to 77.4 in April, the strongest showing since October 2007, from a revised 70.4 in March.

The present situation index advanced to 28.6, the highest since May 2009, from a revised 25.2.

“The Index is now at its highest reading in about a year and a half (Sept. 2008, 61.4),” said Lynn Franco, director, The Conference Board. “Consumers’ concerns about current business and labor market conditions eased again. And, their outlook regarding business conditions and the labor market was also more positive than last month. Looking ahead, continued job growth will be key in sustaining positive momentum."

Consumers’ outlook was also brighter in April. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased to 19.8% from 18.0%, while those expecting conditions will worsen declined to 12.6% from 13.6%.

Consumers were also more optimistic about the job outlook. The percentage of consumers anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 18.0% from 14.1%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 20.0% from 21.4%. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes declined to 10.3% 10.8%.

Consumers' labor market assessment improved. The "jobs hard to get" index fell to 45.0% from 46.3%, while the "jobs plentiful" index increased to 4.8% from 4.0%.

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