US consumer confidence likely rose slightly in April

Markets Associated Press

The Conference Board releases its April index on U.S. consumer confidence Tuesday at 10 a.m. Eastern.

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FEELING BETTER: Economist expect the consumer confidence index to rise slightly to 102.5 this month from 101.3 in March. The results likely won't match January's 103.8 but remain near the highest levels since before the 2007-2009 recession.

Confidence has been rising as the economy improves. The Conference Board's index has risen from 83.9 in March 2014; American employers have added an impressive 3.1 million jobs over that period, and unemployment has fallen from 6.6 percent to 5.5 percent

SLOWING DOWN: But the American economy generated just 126,000 jobs last month, breaking a 12-month streak of at least 200,000 new jobs a month; 31 states registered job losses in March. And gasoline prices, which tumbled to a nationwide average low of $2.03 a gallon in late January, have bounced back up to $2.54 a gallon, according to AAA, possibly dampening the desire and ability of Americans to go shopping. Still, gasoline prices were more than a $1 higher, or $3.70, a year ago.

Economists believe that overall economic growth slowed to between 1 percent and 1.5 percent in the January-March quarter. They are forecasting a rebound to growth of around 3 percent for the rest of this year. The economy grew 2.4 percent in 2014.