US consumer confidence spiked to a 16-year high in March, according to the Conference Board’s monthly survey.
The headline index jumped to 125.6, the highest since December 2000. Economists had forecast that the index dipped in March to 114.0 from a 15-year high of 114.8, according to Bloomberg.
Consumers were more positive about the labour market and economic conditions. The share of people who expected jobs to be plentiful also jumped to a 16-year high.
The Conference Board’s index rose to a new high after President Donald Trump’s election, alongside other gauges of consumer confidence that showed renewed optimism. Business owners’ confidence also spiked following Trump’s promises to scale back regulations and cut corporate taxes.
What other surveys have shown, in addition, is that feelings about the economy are split along party lines, with Republicans suddenly turning super-bullish and Democrats becoming bearish after the presidential election.
“Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects,” said the Conference Board’s Lynn Franco. “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.”
All these are part of so-called soft data that have improved since the election. Hard data that measure actual economic activity, not just expectations, have been more mixed.