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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Confidence Recovers
by Tom Moeller  March 31, 2015

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index improved to 101.3 in March (20.7% y/y) and made up half of last month's decline to 98.8, revised from 96.4. The latest figure was stronger than expectations for 96.5 in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 45% correlation between the level of confidence and the three-month change in real personal consumption expenditures.

The expectations figure recouped virtually all of its February decline with a 6.7% rise (13.2% y/y) to 109.1. The present situation reading declined 2.7% (+32.2% y/y) to 109.1 and added to its earlier shortfall.

Business conditions were rated as "good" by a stable 26.7% of respondents. Jobs were viewed as hard to get by a slightly higher 25.4% of respondents, but that remained down from a 49.4% high in September 2011. Business conditions improvement in six months was expected by a 16.7%, down from 20.8% in August. An improved 18.4% expected income to increase, up from 15.3% twelve months ago. The inflation rate expected in twelve months moved up to 5.2%, its highest level since October.

By age group, confidence among those under 35 rebounded by one-quarter versus last year to its highest level since 2006. Confidence amongst individuals over age 55 firmed to its strongest level since 2007. Confidence amongst those aged 35-54 years slipped versus February but remained 15.2% higher versus 12 months ago.

A greatly lessened 0.6% of respondents planned to buy a new home within six months, equaling the fewest since June. A slightly lower 48.4% planned to buy a major appliance within six months. A lessened 4.0% planned to buy a new automobile.

The Consumer Confidence data is available in Haver's CBDB database. The total indexes appear in USECON and the market expectations are in AS1REPNA.

Majority of Hires Never Report Looking for a Job from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Conference Board (SA, 1985=100) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Consumer Confidence Index 101.3 98.8 103.8 20.7 86.9 73.2 67.1
  Present Situation 109.1 112.1 113.9 32.2 87.3 67.6 49.8
  Expectations 96.0 90.0 97.0 13.2 86.6 77.0 78.6
Consumer Confidence By Age Group
  Under 35 Years 128.2 114.2 126.0 25.2 106.6 93.1 86.5
  Aged 35-54 Years 103.0 107.0 103.6 15.2 92.4 76.8 68.5
  Over 55 Years 91.2 85.9 91.1 26.0 73.7 61.2 56.7
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