Consumer confidence declined at a slower pace in April, but showed no signs of improving in the months ahead, according to a survey by RBC, a Toronto-based finance services firm.

Based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. households, the firm's monthly consumer confidence index for April dropped 3.6 points to 29.5, its lowest level since the index was launched in 2002. The index, which plunged 15 points in February, gauges consumer attitudes on current economic conditions, expectations, investment plans and the job market.

Attitudes about the economy were unchanged from March, with 41 percent of respondents describing conditions as weak, up from 40 percent. Consumers were also concerned about personal finances and job losses, the survey found.

"The across the board downturn in the survey results indicates a potential retrenchment by consumers and corroborates suspicions that the economy has slipped into a recession," T.J. Marta, the firm's capital markets strategist, said in a statement.