Recent stock market volatility and rising gas prices may be behind the strong decline in consumer confidence in March, The Conference Board reported today.

The consumer confidence index retreated to 107.2 this month from 111.2 in February, and Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement that the direction of financial markets and oil prices “bears watching to determine whether this decline is just a bump in the road or something more substantial.”

Consumers’ overall assessment of present-day conditions was little changed in March, as those claiming conditions are “good” dipped to 28.3 percent from 28.7 percent and those saying conditions are “bad” was virtually unchanged at 14.9 percent.

Labor market conditions remain mixed this month, as more consumers (19.1 percent) say jobs are “hard to get,” up from 17.9 percent in February, while those claiming jobs are “plentiful” rose to 30.5 percent from 27.8 percent last month.

“Despite diminishing expectations, consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions remains steady and does not suggest a weakening in economic conditions,” Franco said.

For the short term, more consumers expect business conditions to worsen, up from 8.2 percent last month to 9.8 percent in March, while fewer (14.5 percent) see conditions improving, compared with 15.9 percent in February.

The outlook for the labor market was also more pessimistic, as the percentage of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead increased to 16.5 percent from 14.2 percent, and those anticipating more jobs to become available declined to 12.7 percent from 13.3 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase in the months ahead fell to 17.5 percent from 19.2 percent in February.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
New January Connect speakers added: M. Ryan Gorman, Josh Team, Glenn Kelman and more.SEE THE SPEAKERS×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription