April 2017 – Economic Indicators

Melanie Garza - Director of Strategy & Growth


Consumer Confidence in the U.S. jumped to its highest level in March since December 2000.  The Consumer Confidence Index hit 125.6 in March according to data from The Conference Board.  The March reaching greatly surpassed economist’s predictions of reading of 114 for this month.

Consumers reported optimism in all categories the Conference Board measures.   The percentage saying business conditions are “good” increased from 28.3% to 32.2%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 13.4% to 12.9%. Assessment of the labor market was also more positive. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 26.9% to 31.7%.  Furthermore, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased moderately, from 19.9% to 19.5%.

Confidence in the short-term outlook spiked from 23.9% to 27.1%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 10.5 percent to 8.4 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more upbeat. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 20.9% to 24.8%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.6% to 12.2%.  The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase improved from 19.2% to 21.5%, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 8.1% to 7.0%.

Manufacturing Dips in March

Manufacturing in March dipped slightly below February’s reading.  The Institute for Supply Management reported published that its PMI index was 57.2%, a slight decrease of -0.5% from the 57.7% reading the previous month.  Despite the drop, March numbers exceeded economist’s predictions.  The manufacturing sector has shown expansion for 7 consecutive months.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 17 reported growth in March in the following order: Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Textile Mills; Machinery; Primary Metals; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Wood Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Paper Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Fabricated Metal Products; and Petroleum & Coal Products. No industry reported contraction in March compared to February.

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