Consumer confidence soars to 18-month high

By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A key measure of consumer confidence jumped to its highest level in 18 months, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 57.9 in April. That's up from a downwardly revised 52.3 in March.

Economists were expecting the index to increase to 53.5, according to a Briefing.com consensus survey. The measure is closely watched because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.

Concerns about business and job market conditions continued to ease, said Conference Board director Lynn Franco in a statement. She added that "continued job growth" will really be the key to keeping the momentum going.

Despite April's increase, the index still remains at historically low levels. An overall reading above 90 indicates the economy is solid, and 100 or above indicates strong growth.

The report is based on a survey mailed to a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.

Job market outlook: The percentage of respondents expecting more jobs in the next six months rose to 18% in April from 14.1% in the prior month.

Similarly, those saying jobs are "hard to get" fell to 45% from 46.3% in March, while responses that jobs are "plentiful" ticked up to 4.8% from 4%.

Business conditions: Consumers anticipating business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 19.8% from 18% in March, the report said.

Respondents expecting conditions to worsen in the months ahead fell to 12.6% from 13.6%.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,285.74 0.34 0.00%
Nasdaq 5,090.79 19.05 0.38%
S&P 500 2,130.82 4.97 0.23%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.07 -2.93%
Data as of 7:01am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.73 -0.01 -0.06%
AT&T Inc 35.07 0.45 1.30%
General Electric Co 27.72 0.08 0.29%
Apple Inc 131.39 1.33 1.02%
Yahoo! Inc 43.68 0.88 2.07%
Data as of May 21
Sponsors

Sections

Building the replacements for tens of millions defective airbags and finding owners of the recalled cars will be a difficult and time-consuming process. More

Chelsea Clinton took the stage during Internet Week New York to discuss a new report that looks at the state of women around the world. More

Google apologized for and fixed Google Maps issue where users were taken to the White House if they type in variations of the n-word. More

For $2,000 a month, Beacon will offer unlimited flights between New York and Boston -- and plans to add more cities soon. More

Rents increased 4% in April from last year while home values only rose 3% during the same time period. More