NEW YORK — The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had been on the decline for the last four months, rose sharply in April. The index now stands at 81.0, up from 61.4 in March.

“The swift outcome in the Middle East has helped quell consumers’ short-term concerns,” stated Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “While an increase of this magnitude occurred after the Persian Gulf War in 1991, this post-war surge differs in that both components of the index posted gains. The increase in the Present Situation Index, especially in labor market conditions, may very well signal a turnaround in confidence and a more favorable outlook for consumer spending.”

The Expectations Index increased to 84.8 from 61.4. The Present Situation Index improved to 75.3 from 61.4.

Publication date: 04/28/2003