The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence rose again, with sentiment now at its highest level since December 2000. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 116.1 in February to 125.6 in March. This continued to represent a mostly positive assessment of the economy relative to perceptions just a few months ago. For instance, the index stood at 96.7 as recently as July 2016. Better perceptions about both current (up from 134.4 to 143.1) and future (up from 103.9 to 113.8) conditions in March boosted the headline index. The acceleration in confidence in this report came from a pickup in those respondents saying business conditions were “good,” up from 28.3 percent to 32.2 percent. There was also a slight easing in those suggesting conditions were “bad,” down from 13.4 percent to 12.9 percent. As such, Americans were mostly upbeat in their outlook.
Along those lines, the percentage of respondents expecting their incomes to increase edged up from 19.2 percent to 21.5 percent, with the percentage feeling their incomes would fall in the months ahead dropping from 8.1 percent to 7.0 percent. This view extended to the labor market. In this release, those expecting more jobs moving forward rose from 20.9 percent to 24.8 percent, whereas those feeling there would be less jobs dropped from 13.6 percent to 12.2 percent.