U.S. consumer confidence increases sharply in March

Consumer confidence rose sharply in March as consumers' appraisal of current business conditions and optimism about short-term outlook and the labor market improved considerably, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® increased to 125.6 from 116.1 in February. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a crucial part of a strong rebound.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months increased from 23.9 percent to 27.1 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 10.5 percent to 8.4 percent.

Additionally, those expecting more jobs in the coming months increased from 20.9 percent to 24.8 percent, and those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.6 percent to 12.2 percent.

"Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000," says Lynn Franco, The Conference Board's director of economic indicators. "Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably. Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects. Thus, consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months."

Date : 4/3/2017