Despite recent signs of economic improvement, consumer sentiment appears to have waned this month. Americans also appear to be facing increased financial troubles and greater stress.
These are the findings of the most recent Consumer Reports Index from the Consumer Reports National Research Center. The index fell from 46.1 last month to reach 44.6, while the gap in confidence widened between the 50 percent of American households that earn less than $50,000 and wealthier Americans earning $100,000 or more. As consumer credit
levels continue to rise, financial stress is likely to afflict debt repayment efforts. In fact, a measure of planned purchasing activity actually fell in April, suggesting consumers are facing unexpected financial pressures. "Our results show how consumers feel about their current situation and immediate future," said Ed Farrell, director of market research at the CRNRC. "A majority have yet to feel or see any improvement in their own financial situation. Unless the employment market improves and many of these factors change, it could be some time before we see a true return to optimism."