Last Update: 17-Apr-14 18:13 ET
- The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index strengthened in March. The index increased to 82.3 from an upwardly revised 78.3 (from 78.1) in February. The Briefing.com consensus pegged the index at 78.2.
- Confidence is at its highest level since January 2008.
- Typically, confidence levels trend with unemployment, gasoline prices, and the equity market. The increase in volatility in the equity market over the past few weeks did nothing to harm confidence. Instead, consumers relied on more favorable employment conditions.
- The improvement in confidence was the polar opposite of the preliminary reading of the March University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. That index fell to 79.9 in March from 81.6 in February.
- Consumption growth relies on income gains and not changes in consumer confidence. As long as income remains on an upward trend, consumption growth should follow.
- Income gains are the main catalyst for spending, yet rising levels of confidence over time tend to help on matters of discretionary spending.
|Employment ('plentiful' less 'hard to get')
|1 yr inflation expectations