Consumer Confidence Declines in March

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined 7.3 points to 134.1 in March. The Present Situation Index declined by 12.2 points to 160.6. The Expectations Index, based on consumers short-term outlook for income declined 5.0 points to 99.8.

“Consumer Confidence decreased in March after rebounding in February, with the Present Situation the main driver of this month’s decline,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Confidence has been somewhat volatile over the past few months, as consumers have had to weather volatility in the financial markets, a partial government shutdown and a very weak February jobs report. Despite these dynamics, consumers remain confident that the economy will continue expanding in the near term. However, the overall trend in confidence has been softening since last summer, pointing to a moderation in economic growth.”

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was less favorable. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 19.0 percent to 16.4 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 12.3 percent to 13.4 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose slightly, from 20.6 percent to 21.0 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined, from 8.3 percent to 7.6 percent.

Read the Conference Board release.

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Hugo Dante

Hugo Dante is a research associate in the Economic Policy and Research group at the ABA.