Consumer confidence remained virtually unchanged in April, according to The Conference Board, whose Consumer Confidence Index ticked down only 0.3 points for the month.

The slight decline was the result of lower expectations for business conditions, incomes, and jobs six months from now, which brought the expectations index down by 1.4 points, even as the present situation index moved up 1.5 points.

The number of American consumers considering purchasing a big-ticket item—such as a house or major appliance—within the next six month was down.

"Consumers still face too many negatives to allow a robust spending recovery—high debt, house prices that have not yet hit bottom, price increases that have not yet hit bottom, price increases that have outpaced wage growth, and a lack of confidence in the government’s ability to make things better," wrote Chris Christopher, senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight, in a statement discussing the numbers. "Overall, we expect consumer spending adjusted for inflation growth of 2.1% in 2012, down slightly from 2.2% in 2011. Consumer confidence is still at depressed levels, and spending is positive but far from healthy. The best news for consumers is that the employment picture has improved, and it is the one bright spot of this report."

To read The Conference Board’s full report, click here.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.

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