Consumer’s confidence in March rocketed to the highest level in more than 16 years, according to data released Tuesday. America’s middle class, in particular, registered huge gains in confidence.
March 2016 – March 2017, with huge spike beginning November 2016
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index soared to 125.6 in March, up from 116.1 in February. Economists had expected a decline to 114.1. Measures of consumer and business confidence continue to defy experts by climbing ever higher since the election of President Donald Trump. Despite media reports of hate crimes and an ongoing narrative that America has entered a period of uncertainty and ill-will, surveys of consumers show that Americans are feeling better than they have for nearly all of this century.
The rise in confidence since the election is widespread, cutting across regional and income groups. The biggest rise in confidence came from middle earners. The confidence index for households with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 has risen from 100.4 prior to the election to 135.2. Households with incomes between $35,000 and $50,000 registered a rise from 79.9 to 113.4. Only those with incomes below $15,000 are less confident now than before the election. Consumers are more confident about both their present situations and their expectations for the future, according to the Conference Board. Confidence in the jobs market has improved as well, with those saying jobs are “plentiful” rising while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” falling.
- John Carney, March 28, 2017; CNBC News, March 28, 2017