Both components of the Index saw gains. The Present Situation Index rose to 161.7 from 157.5, while the Expectations Index rose to 105.6 from 104.3.
Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions increased to a 17-year high” when compared with the March 2001 reading of 167.5. She said the gain suggests that the level of economic growth in the second quarter “is likely to have improved” from the first quarter. However, because the short-term improvement is modest, Franco said the pace of growth over the coming months “is not likely to gain any significant momentum.”
Consumers survey also had mixed feelings about the jobs front, on both the short term and six months out. The percentage of those who said jobs are “plentiful” rose to 42.4 percent from 38.2 percent, but those who said jobs are “hard to get” also saw a slight increase to 15.8 from 15.5 percent. Six months out, consumers who said they expect more jobs ahead rose to 19.7 percent from 18.6 percent, while those who expect fewer jobs also increased slightly to 13.9 percent from 13.2 percent.
Despite the mixed sentiment on the labor front, Franco said confidence levels overall “remain at historically strong levels and should continue to support solid consumer spending in the near term.”
The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by information and analytics firm Nielsen.