Consumer confidence in the U.S. dipped slightly in April, but Americans are still more optimistic than they were before the 2016 election, a survey shows.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slipped to 120.3 last month from a 16-year-high of 124.9 in March. Americans were a bit less rosy about the current environment and what the economy will look like six months from now.
Still, confidence is sharply higher compared to last October. The index surged in the wake of Donald’s Trump’s election and in March it hit the highest level since the end of 2000. Republicans are quite confident and independents are also optimistic, more than offsetting a heightened level of dispiritedness among Democrats.
The latest survey is among many that have shown a marked increase in optimism among consumers and businesspeople — what’s often referred to as “soft” economic data.
Yet the rise in optimism has not been accompanied by big gains in so-called hard data such as what households and firms are actually spending and how many people companies are hiring.
As a result, economists predict U.S. growth in the first quarter will taper off to 1% from 2.1% in the final three months of 2016.
Initial indications for the spring do suggest a stronger second quarter. The housing market is still on the upswing, and a report on business investment later the week offers the hope of more good news.
Millions of Americans also got their tax refunds later this year than usual and that could drum up spending in the next month or two.