- THE MAGAZINE
NEW YORK --The Conference Board's (www.conference-board.org) index of consumer confidence reached its highest level since August, rising to 110.2 and outpacing analysts' forecasts for a hike to 98.8. The February reading was revised up to 95.0 from 94.1.
"It now puts us at levels associated with good growth going ahead so it should translate into a pickup in spending," Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Group said. "We're in an area more indicative of healthy economic growth."
The Present Situation Index, which measures Americans' views of the economy right now, posted its largest one-month gain in 25 years, reaching 111.5 in March, up from 96.4. The Expectations Index, a gauge of consumers' six-month outlook, also rallied, to 109.3 in March from 94.0 in February.
The employment outlook also brightened, the Conference Board said, with 20.8 percent saying jobs are "hard to get," down from 22.6 percent in February. Those reporting that jobs were plentiful rose to 20.6 percent from 18.2 percent.
The not-for-profit Conference Board creates and disseminates knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society. Working as a global, independent membership organization in the public interest, it conducts research, convenes conferences, makes forecasts, assesses trends, publishes information and analysis, and brings executives together to learn from one another.