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Consumer Confidence: Surprise Decline

February 28, 2023
Bottom Line:  The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell sharply in February, countering expectations for a further rebound. Consumers' assessments of their current situations edged slightly higher, but their expectations about the future fell sharply, mostly reflecting large drops in confidence for households aged 35 to 54 and for households earning $35,000 or more, according to the Conference Board staff. Expectations for jobs, incomes, an general business conditions all fell. On the plus side, year-ahead inflation expectations fell from 6.7% to 6.3%. But against that, fewer consumers reported plans to buy homes, autos, or major appliances amid high interest rates. Vacation plans were also lower. Overall, consumers remain uncertain about the outlook and high interest rates, and they are now concerned that the jobs market might finally start to slow.
Consumer Confidence
in February FELL -3.1  to 102.9, BELOW the 3-month average of 105.97, BELOW the 6-month average of 104.88, and -2.8 BELOW the year-ago level.
The current conditions index ROSE 1.7. The expectations index FELL -6.3.
The future expectations index FELL -6.3  to 69.7, BELOW the 3-month average of 76.37, BELOW the 6-month average of 77.2, and -11.1 BELOW the year-ago level.
The labor differential, the percentage of respondents who said jobs are 'plentiful' from the percentage who said jobs are 'hard to get' ROSE 4.5  to 41.5, ABOVE the 3-month average of 37.67, ABOVE the 6-month average of 35.73, nearly in-line with year-ago level of 41.5.
Article by Contingent Macro