WASHINGTON -- After falling last month, U.S. consumer confidence picked up in April, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 68.1 points from a revised 61.9 in March.

Consumers expectations about the short-term economic outlook and their income prospects improved, but the research firm cautioned that the effects of the January 1 payroll tax hike and the sharp government spending cuts that began March 1 were weighing on sentiment.

Confidence rose slightly in the present situation, but consumers were considerably more upbeat about the outlook over the next six months. The expectations index jumped to 73.3 in April from 63.7 in March.

"While expectations appear to have bounced back, it is too soon to tell if confidence is actually on the mend," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's economic indicators.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013