U.S. consumer confidence rose 11 percent year on year to 70.2 points in March, according to The Conference Board. While the reading was still far below the important benchmark of 100 points, it was slightly lower than The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® of 71.6 points in February. The Present Situation Index increased to 51 points from 36.9 points one year ago and the Expectations Index rose by two points to 83 in March.
Lynn Franco, the director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said, ”Consumer confidence pulled back slightly in March, after rising sharply in February. 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, suggesting that despite this month’s dip in confidence, consumers feel the economy is not losing momentum.”
The Conference Board noted that 14.3 percent of consumers believed business conditions were “good” in March, while those claiming business conditions were “bad” stood at 32.7 percent. Only 9.4 percent of consumers felt that the jobs were “plentiful” and 41 percent stated that jobs were “hard to get” in March.