March 31, 2009

Consumer confidence rises nominally

The Conference Board said Tuesday its monthly index of consumer confidence in the United States rose slightly in March after a sharp February decline.

The consumer confidence index now stands at 26, up slightly from February's 25.3 reading, which was the lowest on record.

The index, derived from a monthly survey of 5,000 households, uses 1985 as a base level, assigning that year a confidence index of 100.

Looking ahead, consumers remain extremely pessimistic about the short-term future and do not foresee a turnaround in economic conditions over the coming six months, Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center said.

In the March survey, 51.1 percent of the respondents indicated business conditions are bad, an increase from February's 50.5 percent. Those indicating business was good dropped from 7 percent to 6.8 percent.

Those indicating jobs are hard to get rose from 46.9 percent to 48.7 percent, while those indicating jobs were plentiful was unchanged at 4.6 percent.

But, the employment and business outlooks, judging conditions six months from now, were moderately less pessimistic, The Conference Board said.