Consumer Optimism Slips on Taxes, Economic Concerns

consumer optimism slips on taxes, economy concerns
Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. consumers felt less confident about their finances last month, attributable in part to the looming April 15 tax deadline, a new survey finds.

The Consumer Bankers Association and AOL (AOL) monthly Finance Optimism Index fell 3.6 points to -6.2, the organizations said Thursday. An index value below zero indicates that greater number of those who responded to the poll felt pessimistic than optimistic about their personal finances.

Results of the survey suggest April's impending federal income tax deadline combined with other factors, including sluggish job growth and swiftly rising food prices, meant more Americans overall were feeling their budgets squeezed in March.

The CBA and AOL Finance Optimism Index tracks optimism through agreement with four statements in a survey:
  • I am optimistic about my personal financial future.
  • I am worried about my current financial situation.
  • The news I've been hearing in the past few weeks about Americans' personal finances has been generally positive.
  • I am worried that the current economic and political situation is going to affect my personal finances.
The poll results were in line with another measure of consumer confidence in the U.S. economy -- the final March survey of consumer sentiment by the University of Michigan, which showed consumers trimming spending as their faith in a growing economy waned.

Another measure, however, showed Americans felt more upbeat. The Conference Board last month said its index of consumer attitudes rose to its highest level since January 2008.

Still, while the Conference Board survey found consumers were more upbeat about the overall economy and employment prospects, findings suggested that Americans were concerned about their ability to earn more money and rising prices.

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Who wouldn't be.

April 24 2014 at 1:15 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply