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Consumers have brighter outlook on future: Conf. board
March 31, 2015
WASHINGTON (4/1/15)--Optimism about the future pushed the Conference Board's consumer confidence index up 2.5 points in March to 101.3, after it had fallen by 5 points in February (Economy.com March 31).
The expectations subcomponent surged by 6 points in March after dropping by 7 points the prior month. The increase was driven by a rosier outlook from consumers on their employment and income prospects for the upcoming year.
The present conditions subcomponent fell for a second straight month to 109.1 from 112.1, however, thanks to a higher share of consumers believing that business conditions are "bad" compared with February.
"Shoppers grew more optimistic on jobs and income," said Nate Kelley, Moody's analyst (Economy.com). "Indeed, all of the rise in the top-line value is attributable to a stronger outlook."
The share of consumers who believe more jobs will be available in six months rose to 15.5% from 13.8%, while the share who said fewer would be available dropped to 13.5% from 14.8%.
Further, the number of those who believe they will receive a pay raise in the next six months jumped to 18.4% from 16.4%, and the share of those who believe they will receive a pay cut dropped to 9.9% from 10.8%.
The percentage of consumers planning to purchase a home in the next six months dropped to 4.5% from 5.6%, the weakest monthly response since February 2013;
The number of consumers who said they believe current conditions are "good" was unchanged during the month at 26.7%, but the number who said conditions are "bad" climbed to 19.4% from 16.7%; and
The share of respondents who said that business conditions would improve in the next six months fell to 16.7% from 17.6%, but only 8% said conditions would deteriorate, down from 8.9%. More than 75% of consumers said conditions would be the same.