The Conference Board released its consumer confidence index this morning, and US consumers are showing less enthusiasm about the economy in March than they did in February:
Consumer Confidence pulled back slightly in March, after rising sharply in February. The moderate decline was due solely to a less favorable short-term outlook, while consumers’ assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, continued to improve.
The index reading for March was 70.2, compared with a reading of 71.6 in February.
While consumers believe things are improving now, they don’t expect that improvement to last. While the Conference Board doesn’t assign a particular cause, surely rising gasoline prices play some role. One other indicator of declining faith in continuing improvement is that consumers generally believe that new jobs are going to get scarcer. That combination could be the cause of the overall dim view of what the short-term future holds.