The Consumer Confidence Index, reported by the Conference Board, rose 1.5 points from 105.7 to 107.2 in March. The Present Situation Index increased 10.0 points from 143.0 to 153.0, while the Expectation Situation Index fell 4.2 points from 80.8 to 76.6, the lowest since February 2014.
Consumers’ assessment of current business conditions improved in March. The shares of respondents rating business conditions “good” rose by 2.0 percentage points to 19.6%, while those claiming business conditions “bad” fell by 3.0 percentage points to 22.1%. Meanwhile, consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also favorable. The share of respondents reporting that jobs were “plentiful” climbed by 3.7 percentage points to a new historical high, while those saw jobs as “hard to get” declined by 2.2 percentage points.
Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term outlook. The share of respondents expecting business conditions to improve fell from 21.3% to 18.7%, while those expecting business conditions to deteriorate rose from 19.9% to 23.8%. Similarly, expectations of employment over the next six months were less favorable. The share of respondents expecting “more jobs” dropped by 2.0 percentage points to 17.4%, and those anticipating “fewer jobs” declined by 1.9 percentage points to 17.7%.
The Conference Board also reported the share of respondents planning to buy a home within six months. The share of respondents planning to buy a home stayed unchanged at 5.8% in March, the lowest level since November. The share of respondents planning to buy a newly constructed home remained at 0.6%, while for those who planning to buy an existing home fell to 2.3%.