The Associated Press stated the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index in March fell more than expected to 63.4 from a revised 72.0 in February. Economists expected a decline to 65.4, according to FactSet. This decline reverses five straight months of improvement and raises concern about shoppers’ ability and willingness to spend in coming months.
A reading of 90 indicates a healthy economy. The index hasn’t approached that level since the recession began in December 2007. Expectations about inflation rose dramatically, the Conference Board said. Expectations about income gains dimmed.
Regardless, personal income in January increased $147.4 billion, or 1.2%, DPI increased $92.0 billion, or 0.8%, and PCE increased $29.5 billion, or 0.3%, based on revised estimates. Real disposable income, however, decreased 0.1% in February, in contrast to an increase of 0.5%in January. Real PCE increased 0.3%, in contrast to a decrease of less than 0.1%.
Private wage and salary disbursements increased $16.4 billion in February, compared with an increase of $16.7 billion in January. Goods-producing industries' payrolls decreased $1.0 billion, in contrast to an increase of $12.0 billion; manufacturing payrolls decreased $1.6 billion, in contrast to an increase of $8.3 billion.
Services-producing industries' payrolls increased $17.4 billion, compared with an increase of $4.7 billion. Government wage and salary disbursements increased $0.3 billion, compared with an increase of $2.5 billion.