Consumer Confidence up slightly

Index improves, but headwinds dampen outlook.

The Consumer Confidence Index increased slightly in March to 107.2, compared to a downwardly revised figure of 105.7 in February.

confidence chart

Measures of expectations were a little more pessimistic, according to Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—declined to 76.6 from 80.8. 

The number “weakened further with consumers citing rising prices, especially at the gas pump, and the war in Ukraine as factors,” Franco said. “Meanwhile, purchasing intentions for big-ticket items like automobiles have softened somewhat over the past few months as expectations for interest rates have risen.”

And while economist pointed to strong employment growth, headwinds such as expectations for inflation over the next 12 months and global geopolitical uncertainties “may potentially dampen confidence as well as cool spending further in the months ahead.”