After increasing in February, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved sharply in March.
The Index now stands at 125.6 where scores over 100 suggest strong consumer confidence, up from 116.1 in February. The Present Situation Index, gauging feelings about immediate economic prospects, rose from 134.4 in February to 143.1 and the Expectations Index, gauging feelings about economic prospects farther out, increased from 103.9 last month to 113.8.
“Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000,” said Lynn Franco, Conference Board director of economic indicators. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably. Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects. Thus, consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months.”