March Consumer Confidence Smashes Estimates

Consumer confidence in the US rose 1.5 points to 52.5 versus the consensus of 51.0. Prior numbers have been revised from 46.0 to 46.4.

Below, the official release in full:

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had decreased in February, rebounded in March. The Index now stands at 52.5 (1985=100), 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.

The Consumer Confidence Survey┬« is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world’s largest custom research company. The cutoff date for March’s preliminary results was March 23rd.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research centre: “Consumer confidence, which had declined sharply in February, managed to recoup most of the loss in March. However, despite this month’s increase, consumers continue to express concern about current business and labour 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 per cent from 45.1 per cent, while those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 8.6 per cent from 6.8 per cent. Consumers’ assessment of the labour market was also less pessimistic. Those saying jobs are “hard to get” declined to 45.8 per cent from 47.3 per cent, while those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased to 4.4 per cent from 4.0 per cent.

Consumers’ short-term outlook improved in March. Those anticipating conditions will worsen over the next six months declined to 13.9 per cent from 15.9 per cent, while those anticipating an improvement increased to 18.3 per cent from 16.1 per cent.

Regarding the outlook for the labour market, the percentage of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead decreased to 21.6 per cent from 24.7 per cent. Those anticipating more jobs will become available increased to 14.6 per cent from 13.2 per cent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes improved to 10.5 per cent from 10.1 per cent.

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