Consumer Confidence Increased Slightly in March
The Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index ® this morning, with the headline number coming in at 104.2, an increase of 0.8 from the upwardly revised final reading of 103.4 in February. This month's reading is better than the Investing.com forecast of 101.0.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased slightly in March to 104.2 (1985=100), up from 103.4 in February. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—decreased to 151.1 (1985=100) from 153.0 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—ticked up to 73.0 (1985=100) from 70.4 in February (a slight upward revision). However, for 12 of the last 13 months—since February 2022—the Expectations Index has been below 80, the level which often signals a recession within the next year. The cutoff date for the survey was March 20th, about ten days after the bank failures in the United States.
“Driven by an uptick in expectations, consumer confidence improved somewhat in March, but remains below the average level seen in 2022 (104.5). The gain reflects an improved outlook for consumers under 55 years of age and for households earning $50,000 and over,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director, Economics at The Conference Board. Read more
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index measures the consumers attitudes and confidence in the economy, business conditions, and labor market, with higher readings indicating higher optimism. The general assumption is that when consumers are more optimistic they will spend more and stimulate economic growth. However, if consumers are pessimistic then spending will decline and the economy may slow down. The index is based on a 5 question survey, with 2 questions related to present conditions and 3 questions related to future expectations. The survey began in 1967 and was conducted every two months but changed to monthly reporting in 1977, which is where our data begins.