Consumer Confidence in March – Better Expectations

The Conference Board reported that in March the Consumer Confidence Index rebounded.

The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 96.2 in March, from 94.0 in February. The present situation index in March moderately decreased to 113.6, from 115.0 in February; the expectations index climbed to 84.7 in March, from 79.9 in February.

In March, consumers were more optimistic about the short-term outlook than in the previous month, mostly because job growth surged in February. The share of respondents expecting “more jobs” over the next six months increased to 12.9% in March, from 12.2% in February. In March, 15.0% of respondents reported that they expected “better” business conditions over the next six months, an increase from 14.5% in February. Also, the share of respondents expecting business conditions to worsen over the next six months dropped to 9.2% in March, from 11.6% in February.

Mar Figure1

The Conference Board also reported the shares of respondents planning to buy a home within six months. The share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months remained at 5.9 % in March. The share of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months slipped to 2.5% in March, from 3.0% in February. The share of respondents planning to buy a new home within six months declined to 0.7% in March, from 1.1% in February. These declines were offset by the share of respondents who were “uncertain” whether they will buy a new home or a lived-in home.

Despite the monthly volatility, the trends in the shares of respondents planning to buy a new home and the shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months are climbing up from the trough and consumer confidence remains at a relatively high level by historical standards.

Mar Figure2



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