U.S. consumer confidence surged in April as the belief that economic conditions are improving grew, according to survey data Discover Financial Services released this week.
Discover’s U.S. Spending Monitor index rose to 91.5 in April, up 5.5 points from 86 in March and the Monitor’s highest level since November 2007. Discover set the index at 100 when it introduced it in May 2007.
In a nationwide telephone survey of 8,200 adults Rasmussen Reports conducted throughout April on behalf of Discover, 34.4% of respondents said economic conditions are getting better, a record for the survey. In March, 27.9% of respondents said they thought the economy was getting better. In April, 22.9% said their personal finances were getting better, up from 20.7% who said so the previous month.
Pessimism about the economy also declined in April, as 49.6% of respondents rated the economy as poor, down from 57.4% who said so in March. That trend was more pronounced among younger consumers, as 45.4% of respondents ages 18 to 39 rated the economy as poor, down from 58.2%. Some 42.6% of respondents in April said their personal finances were getting worse, down from 49.2%.
Respondents in April also planned to open their wallets more, with 17.7% saying they planned to spend more during the coming month on household improvements, up from 13.9%. Some 10.6% said they plan to spend more on discretionary personal expenses, up from 8%. Some 15.6% said they planned to make a major personal purchase within the coming month, up from 11.5%.
“Consumers, especially those below the age of 40, are feeling better about the economy and less pessimistic about their finances,” Julie Loeger, Discover senior vice president of brand and product management, said in a statement.