Consumer confidence rebounds in April

Consumer confidence rebounded in April to near its highest level since before the 2008 financial crisis sparked a major recession.
 
The benchmark University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters index hit 84.1 in April up from 80 in March. The April total represents an increase from 76.4 in April of last year.
 
The index had reached a post-recession high of 85.1 in July 2013, before slow economic growth, uncertainty over Federal Reserve policy and budget squabbling in Washington contributed to a decline.
 
U.S. stocks were down Friday morning despite the strong survey results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 148 points, a decline of 0.89 percent as of 11:17 a.m. and the tech-heaving NASDAQ was down 1.53 percent, both driven lower by lackluster earnings reports for the first quarter of 2014. 
 
The survey represents attitudes about current conditions and about expectations for future financial conditions. 
 
“Importantly, consumers were slightly more optimistic about future job gains, although most consumers expect only minor improvements in the national unemployment rate during the year ahead,” the survey results said. 
 
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Richard Curtin, the economist for the survey, cautioned that it remains to be seen if there will be backsliding this year.
 
“Resilience among consumers is dependent on positive long term economic expectations. While near term expectations have improved substantially, longer term expectations for personal finances as well as the overall economy have remained unchanged from a year ago,” Curtin said. 
 
“Hopefully, as the pace of economic growth springs ahead in the coming months, the main beneficiary will be an improvement in long term economic expectations for personal finances as well as the overall economy,” he added.