March 28, 2017
Consumer confidence soars in March to best reading in 16 years
Consumer confidence in March soared to the highest level in more than 16 years, according to data released Tuesday.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index leapt to 125.6 in March from 116.1 in February, coming in well ahead of the MarketWatch-compiled consensus of 114.1.
The reading gave a pop to U.S. stocks DJIA, -0.20% , which turned higher after the report. The Dow closed 150 points higher.
Consumer confidence has taken off since the election of President Donald Trump, on the prospect of lower taxes and more infrastructure spending. Confidence has yet to be impacted by Congress’s inability so far to enact the president’s ambitions. The cutoff data for responses was March 16, before Republicans were forced to scrap a vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
A separate, weekly reading from Gallup on economic confidence fell to the lowest level since the election, though still at a level before Trump took office.
Both the present situation and the expectations indexes in the Conference Board report improved in March.
The gains also cut across most regional and income groups. Perhaps not surprisingly, the higher the household income, the higher the consumer confidence reading. Only those with household income below $15,000 are less confident now than they were before the election.
Consumers felt more optimistic about the jobs market. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 26.9% to 31.7%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 19.9% to 19.5%.
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