Consumer Confidence Index rebounds

Lynn Franco

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has rebounded on more optimistic assessments of current business and labor conditions.

Expectations for the near future were less upbeat, however, as concerns mounted over higher gasoline prices and the war in Ukraine.

“These headwinds are expected to persist in the short term and may potentially dampen confidence as well as cool spending further in the months ahead,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

The New York-based think tank reported its Consumer Confidence Index increased 1.5 points to 107.2 in March after declines in February and January.

The index is based on the results of monthly household surveys. Economists monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.

More optimistic assessments of business and labor conditions pushed up the present situation component of the index 10 points from February to March to 153.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the March index was based who said business conditions were “good” rose two points to 19.6 percent. The share of those who said conditions were “bad” fell three points to 22.1 percent.

The proportion of consumers who said jobs were “plentiful” rose 3.7 points to 57.2 percent, an historical high. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” fell 2.2 points to 9.8 percent.

Less upbeat outlooks for the next six months pulled down the expectations component of the index 4.2 points to 76.6.

The share of consumers who said they expected business conditions to improve fell 2.6 points to 18.7 percent. The proportion of those who said they anticipated worsening conditions rose 3.9 points to 23.8 percent.

The share of consumers who said they expected more jobs to become available in coming months fell two points to 17.4 percent. Still, the proportion of those forecast fewer jobs also declined — 1.9 points to 17.7 percent.

While 14.9 percent said they expected their incomes to increases — up two-tenths of a point — 13.7 percent said they expected their incomes to decrease, up seven-tenths of a point.