Consumer Confidence: Sharp Decline

March 26, 2019
Bottom Line: Consumer confidence fell more than expected in March as consumers' optimism about future business and labor prospects waned. While still at overall high levels, both the present situation and the expectations indices suggest confidence has likely peaked and is slowly waning. Still, consumers' prospects for income growth were higher in March, suggesting consumer spending growth should still be positive, if modestly slower than levels seen in 2018. Consumer Confidence FELL by 7.3 points in March to 124.1, compared with market expectations for an increase to 132.5. The index is now 2.3% BELOW its year ago level. Present Situation Index FELL by 12.2 points to 160.6. The index is 1.6% ABOVE its year ago level. The Expectations Index FELL by 4.0 points to 99.8. The index is 6.0% BELOW 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 5.7 points to 28.3.