US consumers grew decidedly less confident about the economy in April, seeing little to suggest growth will pick up in the coming months, the Conference Board said today.

The research firm's Consumer Confidence Index fell to 95.2 in April from 101.4 in March. The April number was the lowest reading since December. 

Analysts on average had expected the index to rise to 102.2. 

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said the index gave back all of the March gain "and more". 

"This month's retreat was prompted by a softening in current conditions, likely sparked by the recent lacklustre performance of the labour market, and apprehension about the short-term outlook," she said.

"Coupled with waning expectations, there is little to suggest that economic momentum will pick up in the months ahead," she added. 

The Present Situation sub-index declined for the third consecutive month, to 106.8 in April from 109.5 in March. 

Most of the deterioration in confidence was related to the labour market. 

Early in April the US government reported a sharp slowdown in jobs growth in March and cut the previous two months' numbers, dimming the picture for growth this year. 

Looking ahead six months, the Expectations sub-index fell to 87.5 from March's rebound to 96, again led by jobs concerns. 

More people expected fewer jobs and a decline in income. The number planning to buy cars, homes and major appliances, and to take holidays, fell.