Consumer Confidence: Steady Headline, Expectations Higher

February 25, 2020
Bottom Line: Consumers' assessments of the economy were nearly steady on net in February, but their assessments of the current situation fell while expectations rose. Overall confidence, at 130.7, was a touch below expectations but above its three month average of 129.8. Additionally, details were positive as 6-month outlooks for business rose modestly, outlooks for income rose modestly and employment rose modestly. There were no mentions of the Covid-19 virus in the report. Finally, on a trend basis, the present situation index remains elevated but has been mostly rangebound for 16+ months. The expectations index has been much more volatile but also rangebound at historically elevated levels. Consumer Confidence ROSE by 0.3 points in February to 130.7, compared with market expectations for an increase to 132.2. The index is now 0.5% BELOW its year-ago level. The Present Situation Index FELL by 8.8 points to 165.1. The index is 4.5% BELOW its year-ago level. The Expectations Index ROSE by 6.4 points to 107.8. The index is 3.9% ABOVE its year-ago level. The labor differential, the percentage of respondents who said jobs are “hard to get” from the percentage who said jobs are “plentiful”, moved lower by 5.5 points to 29.8.