NEW YORK-The consumer confidence index declined 1.4 points in March to 70.2, according to the latest survey by The Conference Board, which compiles the monthly indicator.
The decrease came on top of February’s 9.3-point gain in the index, and resulted from a weaker outlook for the U.S. economy’s future, according to Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. In fact, the expectations index, one of the two component indexes, fell 5.4 points to 83.0.
Meanwhile, the present situations index actually gained 3.6 points to 51.0. Franco said this is the highest level for this index in three and a half years, “suggesting that despite this month’s dip in confidence, consumers feel the economy is not losing momentum.”
Regarding both current economic conditions and the current state of the jobs situation, the survey returned mix results. The percentages of consumers who said both that current business conditions are “good” and that current conditions are “bad” both rose, as did the percentages of those who said jobs were both “plentiful” and “hard to get.”
Looking ahead, the same mixed results occurred in consumers’ assessments of whether business conditions will improve or worsen. The percentage of consumers who expected an increase in jobs declined, while the percentage of those expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead increased.