Six years after the economy hit an extreme low, consumers seem to be confident again as evidenced by the Consumer Confidence Index, which has risen to the highest it’s been since 2008 (82.3%).
The Consumer Confidence research organization also reported that the Present Situation Index edged down to 80.4% from 81.0%, while the Expectations Index increased to 83.5% from 76.5%.
“While consumers were moderately more upbeat about future job prospects and the overall economy, they were less optimistic about income growth,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation index, which had been on an upward trend for the past four months, was relatively unchanged in March. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue improving and believe it may even pick up a little steam in the months ahead.”
Data Source: Haver Analytics, created and presented by Econoday
Consumers’ expectations, which fell last month, rebounded in March. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 18.1% from 17.3%, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen declined to 10.2% from 13.6%.
Survey participants claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 22.9% from 21.2%; however, those claiming business conditions are “bad” also rose, to 23.2% from 22.0%.
Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was relatively unchanged. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased marginally to 13.1% from 13.4%, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” increased slightly to 33.0% from 32.4%.
Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was moderately more optimistic. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged up to 13.9% from 13.7%, while those expecting fewer jobs fell to 18.0% from 20.9%. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to grow declined to 14.9% from 15.8%, but those anticipating a decline in their incomes also decreased, to 12.1% from 13.4%.
Results are based on a survey conducted for the group by Nielsen, with a cutoff date of March 14.