NEW YORK — The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose in March to the highest level in four years.
But the Conference Board warned that the consumer outlook remains subdued. Still, the index's jump was impressive. The board said Tuesday that the index climbed to 107.2, following a decline in February.
Analysts and some economists were expecting the index to dip to 102 from February's revised reading of 102.7. As for the components of the index, the Present Situation Index rose to 133.3 from 130.3, while the Expectations Index improved to 89.9 from 84.2 last month.
"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," said Lynn Franco, director of the Board's Consumer Research Center, in a statement.
A report from Bernstein Research said, "It appears that concerns surrounding higher energy prices and declining wage growth have abated somewhat, as the job market remains strong, and the stock market remains on an upswing. Importantly, the spread between the present situation and expectations narrowed in March, implying a relatively stronger picture of future saving/spending habits."
Consumers' overall assessment of current conditions remains favorable, but their view of labor market conditions remained mixed. Consumers who said jobs are "plentiful" rose to 28.4 percent from 27.4 percent last month, while those who claimed that jobs are "hard to get" inched up to 20.7 percent from 20.2 percent.
The outlook for the labor market was more positive. Those who expected fewer jobs to become available in the coming months dropped to 16.6 percent from 19.9 percent in February, while those who expected more jobs inched up to 13.9 percent from 13.4 percent.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews