Industry News

Consumer confidence improves

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The Conference Board today reported that its Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in February, increased in March, as more Americans expect an improving job market in the coming months. The Index now stands at 107.2, up from 102.7 in January. The present situation index rose to 133.3 from 130.3. The expectations index improved to 89.9 from 84.2 last month. "This month's gain in consumer confidence has pushed the Index to a near four-year high (May 2002, 110.3)," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "The improvement in consumers' assessment of present-day conditions is yet another sign that the economy gained steam in early 2006. Consumer expectations, while improved, remain subdued and still suggest a cooling in activity in the latter half of this year." Consumers' overall assessment of current conditions remains favorable. Those claiming conditions are "good" rose to 28.3 percent from 26.4 percent. Those claiming conditions are "bad"...