In March, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index came in at 107.2, which was in line with forecasts. This was lower than the 110.5 index level published last month for February and the 111.1 index level reported in January.
Consumer confidence was buoyed in March by a solid labor market and the retreat of covid-19, however, inflation, gas prices, and the advent of war in Ukraine have darkened hopes for the near future.
Except for a downward revision for February to 105.7, March would have been the third consecutive monthly fall. That gloomy statistic came at a time when the omicron variety was driving infection rates to new highs and inflation was at its lowest point in forty years.
As a result of the February change, the March reading now indicates a small improvement.
Consumers do not believe inflation will be kept under control this year, as expected inflation for the next 12 months jumped to 7.9%, an all-time high. The Consumer Price Index increased 7.9% in February compared to the same month a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The rise in the present situation index, which is based on consumers’ assessments of current business and labor market circumstances, to 153.0 from 143.0 last month, was fully responsible for the increase in the headline index.
Consumers’ short-term expectations for income, business, and labor market conditions fell to 76.6 from 80.8 in the expectations index.
As a result, people become more at ease with their current status while becoming less hopeful about the future.
“After dips in February and January, consumer confidence increased slightly in March,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.
Consumers have conflicting feelings regarding the labor market’s short-term prospects. 17% of consumers predict more employment to become available in the next months, down from 19.4 percent in February. The percentage of people expecting fewer jobs has also decreased, from 19.6% to 17.7%.