The Conference Board today announced that consumer confidence surged in March to the highest level in a year.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® surged in March to its highest reading in a year, after a modest increase in February. The Index now stands at 109.7 (1985=100), up from 90.4 in February. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—climbed from 89.6 to 110.0. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—also improved, from 90.9 last month to 109.6 in March.
As the Conference Board reports, there’s a positive correlation between consumer confidence and economic activity.
“Consumer Confidence increased to its highest level since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “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. 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.”
The Associated Press reports,
Most economists are forecasting strong growth in coming quarters, powered by a surge in consumer confidence and consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity.
“The recovery in consumer confidence is set to continue in the coming months, buoyed by the combination of improving health conditions and wider vaccine distribution,” said Lydia Boussour, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. “This should support hearty consumer spending and pave the way for a mini-boom in economic activity this spring and summer.”