Consumer Confidence Slows in March

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased 2.3 points to 127.7 in March. Last month’s index was downwardly revised from 130.8 to 130.0. The Present Situation Index fell 1.3 points to 159.9. The Expectations Index declined 3.0 points to 106.2.

“Consumer confidence declined moderately in March after reaching an 18-year high in February,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined slightly, with business conditions the primary reason for the moderation. Consumers’ short-term expectations also declined, including their outlook for the stock market, but overall expectations remain quite favorable. Despite the modest retreat in confidence, index levels remain historically high and suggest further strong growth in the months ahead.”

Consumers’ labor market outlook was also less positive in March. The percentage of consumers expecting more jobs in the coming months fell 3.3 points to 19.1%, while the share of those anticipating fewer jobs grew from 12.4% to 12.6%. Income expectations decreased, as 22.0% of consumers expected their incomes to increase in coming months, down from 23.5% in February. However, the proportion expecting a decline fell from 8.6% to 7.2%.

Read the Conference Board release.

About Stephen Newton

Stephen Newton is an economic research associate at ABA.