The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased in February, rebounded in March now standing at 52.5 up from 46.4 in February. The Present Situation Index increased to 26.0 from 21.7. The Expectations Index improved to 70.2 from 62.9 last month.
“Consumer confidence, which had declined sharply in February, managed to recoup most of the loss in March,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “However, despite this month’s increase, consumers continue to express concern about current business and labor market conditions. And, their outlook for the next six months is still rather pessimistic. Overall, consumer confidence levels have not changed significantly since last spring.”
Consumers’ assessment of current-day conditions was less negative in March. Those claiming conditions are “bad” decreased to 42.8% from 45.1%, while those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 8.6% from 6.8%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also less pessimistic. Those saying jobs are “hard to get” declined to 45.8% from 47.3%, while those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased to 4.4% from 4.0%.
Consumers’ short-term outlook improved in March. Those anticipating conditions will worsen over the next six months declined to 13.9% from 15.9%, while those anticipating an improvement increased to 18.3% from 16.1%.
Regarding the outlook for the labor market, the percentage of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead decreased to 21.6% from 24.7%. Those anticipating more jobs will become available increased to 14.6% from 13.2%. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes improved to 10.5% from 10.1%.