April 2014 Economic Indicators

Melanie Garza - Director of Operations

Consumer Confidence Peaks in March

Consumer Confidence jumped 4 points in March back to over 80 points.  The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, reported the March Index at 82.3 compared to a 78.3 reading in February.   It is the highest reading in 6 years, since January 2008.

Overall consumers are feeling more confident with the Expectations Index jumping from 76.5 in February to 83.5 in March while the Present Situation Index declined slightly by 0.6.

The labor market outlook by consumers also grew.  Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged up to 13.9 percent from 13.7 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs fell to 18.0 percent from 20.9 percent.

Despite projected job openings, projected income growth continues to prove troublesome for consumers.  The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to grow dropped to 14.9 from 15.8 percent in February.

Consumer confidence improved in March, as expectations for the short-term outlook bounced back from February’s decline. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue improving and believe it may even pick up a little steam in the months ahead,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

Consumer Confidence

Construction Grows Slowly

The harsh winter has slowed construction spending in 2014, despite small gains in February.  The U.S. Census Bureau reported that February 2014 construction spending was estimated at $945.7 billion. Even with a slow start to the year, the figure is up nearly 9% over last year, during the same period.  Once winter breaks, economists expect to see spending increase. Private construction was $680 billion, a .1% increase over January.  Nonresidential construction grew 1.2% to $319.6 billion, while residential construction dropped .08%.

Communication construction spending continues to dramatically rise posting a 7.2% gain over January.

It is up 52% from 2013.  Lodging and office construction are also rising.  In February lodging grew 2.9% and 37% over the previous year.  Office construction grew a mere .2% in February, and 12.9% from 2013.  Highway construction rose 1.4% in February and is up 11.5% over 2013.

Manufacturing declined slightly -.01% in February, but is 16.7% higher than a year ago.  Despite the decline in manufacturing, major new expansions were announced by GE Aviation, GAF and Raytheon.

Construction Spending

Questions? Please contact Melanie Garza at mgarza@teamCOACT.com