Consumer Confidence Surges to One-Year High in March
Shoppers are feeling the most optimistic about current conditions that they have since U.S. lockdowns first went into place.
Information and analytics company Nielsen conducts the Consumer Confidence Survey every month for The Conference Board; it gathered data for its most recent survey through March 19.
What it found in its latest survey is that consumers are feeling much better about current conditions.
The Consumer Confidence Index surged ahead in March to its highest reading in a year, up from 90.4 in February to 109.7.
Additionally, the Present Situation Index, which is based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, was also up, rising from 89.6 to 110.0.
The Expectations Index, measuring consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, also improved, from 90.9 in February to 109.6 in March.
“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their short-term outlook improved significantly, an indication that economic growth is likely to strengthen further in the coming months,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.
“Consumers’ renewed optimism boosted their purchasing intentions for homes, autos, and several big-ticket items. However, concerns of inflation in the short-term rose, most likely due to rising prices at the pump, and may temper spending intentions in the months ahead.”
Shopper assessment of current conditions improved dramatically in March, with the percentage of those indicating they believed business conditions are “good” increasing from 16.1 percent to 18.5 percent, while those saying they thought business conditions are “bad” fell from 39.7 percent to 30.5 percent.
Their assessment of the labor market was also more optimistic; the percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 21.6 percent to 26.3 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 22.4 percent to 18.5 percent.
And when it came to optimism about the short-term outlook and the job market, attitudes were markedly better.
The percentage of consumers saying they expect business conditions will improve over the next six months rose from 30.7 percent to 40.8 percent, while the percentage expecting conditions to worsen fell from 17.7 percent to 11.0 percent.
Meanwhile, the percentage expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 27.4 percent to 36.1 percent, and those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 21.3 percent to 13.4 percent.
And when it came to income fluctuations in the short term, 15.5 percent of consumers expect theirs to increase in the next six months, a slight increase from 14.8 percent that said the same in February. But 13.3 percent expect their income to decrease, which is also up slightly from 12.9 percent last month.
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