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Economy in Brief

Consumer Confidence Down Again
by Tom Moeller March 29, 2005

The March Index of Consumer Confidence published by the Conference Board fell 1.9% to 102.4 from an upwardly revised February level. Consensus expectations had been for a reading of 103.0 and the decline followed a 0.7% drop in February.

During the last twenty years there has been a 51% correlation between the level of consumer confidence and the y/y change in real consumer spending. The correlation rose to 66% during the last ten years.

The March index of consumer expectations fell for the third consecutive month (+2.6% y/y) following an 11.6% surge in December. The present situation index fell modestly (+37.0% y/y) after rising strongly in the prior four months.

Jobs were viewed as hard to get by 23.8% of survey participants, up slightly from the February low. Expectations for income in six months grew poorer as fewer respondents (16.7%) expected an increase and more expected a decrease (9.3%).

The Conference Board’s survey isconducted by a mailed questionnaire to 5,000 households and about 3,500 typically respond.

Conference Board Mar Feb Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Consumer Confidence 102.4 104.4 15.7% 96.1 79.8 96.6
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