Consumers were more upbeat about the jobs outlook six months out.

The Consumer Confidence Index rose again in March after February’s uptick.

The index is now at 125.6, up from 116.1 last month. Both components of the index also saw gains: The Present Situation Index increased to 143.1 from 134.4, while the Expectations Index was at 113.8 from 103.9.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000.” She added that consumer confidence has improved “considerably,” noting that they “expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects. Thus, consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months.”

According to the data, respondents who said business conditions are “good” rose to 32.2 percent from 28.3 percent, while those who said conditions are “bad” fell to 12.9 percent from 13.4 percent. The respondents surveyed also were more optimistic about the labor front, with those stating that jobs are “plentiful” up at 31.7 percent from 26.9 percent.

For the short-term outlook — generally six months out — the respondents who expect business conditions to improve rose to 27.1 percent from 23.9 percent. They were also more upbeat about the jobs front. Those who said they expect more jobs ahead rose to 24.8 percent from 20.9 percent, while those who said they expect fewer jobs fell to 12.2 percent from 13.6 percent. And those who said they expect their incomes to increase rose to 21.5 percent from 19.2 percent. Further, the proportion of respondents who said they expect their incomes to decline fell to 7 percent from 8.1 percent.

Nielsen conducts the monthly consumer confidence survey for The Conference Board. Nielsen provides information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for preliminary results was March 16.

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