April 24, 2012 / 3:09 PM / 8 years ago

Consumer confidence edges down in April

A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago in this September 21, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer confidence edged slightly lower in April, while Americans also reined in their inflation expectations after a surge in the previous month, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes edged down to 69.2 from a downwardly revised 69.5 in March. Economists had expected a reading of 69.7, according to a Reuters poll.

For March, the index was originally reported as 70.2.

The expectations index eased to 81.1 from 82.5, but the present situation index fared better, rising to 51.4 from 49.9.

“As was the case last month, the slight dip (in the main index) was prompted by a moderation in consumers’ short-term outlook, while their assessment of current conditions continued to improve,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

“Overall, consumers are more upbeat about the state of the economy, but they remain cautiously optimistic.”

Consumers’ view of the labor market was mixed. The “jobs hard to get” index fell to 37.5 percent from 40.7 percent, while the “jobs plentiful” index also declined to 8.4 percent from 9.0 percent.

Consumers felt better about price increases with expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months easing to 5.8 percent from 6.2 percent.

March’s inflation expectation was originally reported as 6.3, the highest level since May 2010.

Reporting By Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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