The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, after an increase in February, slipped slightly in March to stand at 70.2, down from 71.6 in February. The Present Situation Index rose from 46.4 in February to 51.0 in March. The Expectations Index moved from 88.4 in February to 83.0 in March.
"Consumer Confidence pulled back slightly in March, after rising sharply in February," said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "The moderate decline was due solely to a less favorable short-term outlook, while consumers' assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, continued to improve. The Present Situation Index now stands at its highest level in three and a half years (61.1, Sept. 2008), suggesting that despite this month's dip in confidence, consumers feel the economy is not losing momentum."
Consumers' appraisal of current conditions improved in March:
* those claiming business conditions are good: 14.3%, up from 13.7% in February
* those claiming business conditions are bad also increased: 32.7% in March, up from 31.7%
Consumers' assessment mixed of the job market:
* those saying jobs are plentiful: 9.4% in March, up from 7.0%, in February
* those stating jobs are hard to get also rose: 41.0% in March, up from 38.6% in February
Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term outlook:
* consumers expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months: 19.2% in March, from 18.9% in February
* those anticipating business conditions will worsen also rose: 13.5% in March, from 11.8% in February
Consumers' outlook for the labor market:
* those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead: 17.3%, from 18.8%
* those anticipating fewer jobs: 18.3%, from 16.4%.
The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes improved slightly, from 15.5% in February to 15.8% in March.
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