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Economy in Brief

Consumer Confidence Fell Sharply
by Tom Moeller March 25, 2008

The Conference Board reported today that consumer confidence in March again fell sharply. The 15.6% m/m decline to a reading of 64.5 followed February's 12.4% drop. It was the sharpest two month decline since late 1991. A consensus of economists foresaw less of a decline in March to a level of 73.8.

The expectations component of the index fell 17.4% m/m and dropped the level to its lowest since the 1970s. Expectations for business conditions and for income dropped sharply while expectations for the inflation rate surged to 6.1%, its highest since 2005.

Respondents planning to buy a household appliance dropped sharply.

The present conditions index also fell a sharp 14.2% m/m to the lowest level since mid 2004.

Just 15.4% of respondents saw business conditions as good, the lowest since 2003. Jobs as plentiful were seen by 18.8% while 25.1% saw them as hard to get, the highest since mid 2005.

Conference Board  (SA, 1985=100) March February Y/Y % 2007 2006 2005
Consumer Confidence Index 64.5 76.4 -40.4 103.4 105.9 100.3
  Present Situation 89.2 104.0 -35.6 128.8 130.2 116.1
  Expectations 47.9 58.0 -45.5 86.4 89.7 89.7
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