After waning slightly last month, U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in March.
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 101.3, which is up from 98.8 in February and just below the 7.5-year high of 103.8 reached in January.
"Consumer confidence improved in March after retreating in February," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "This month's increase was driven by an improved short-term outlook for both employment and income prospects; consumers were less upbeat about business conditions."
The Conference Board says that consumers' assessment of present-day conditions turned moderately less favorable in March for a second straight month. The percentage of consumers saying that business conditions are "good" was unchanged at 26.7 percent, while those claiming that business conditions are "bad" increased from 16.7 percent to 19.4 percent.
"Consumers' assessment of current conditions declined for the second consecutive month, suggesting that growth may have softened in Q1, and doesn't appear to be gaining any significant momentum heading into the spring months," said Franco.
Consumers were mixed in their assessment of the current job market. The proportion stating that jobs are "plentiful" edged up from 20.3 percent to 20.6 percent, while those claiming that jobs are "hard to get" also edged up from 25.1 percent to 25.4 percent.
Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook, which had declined last month, also rebounded in March. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased slightly, from 17.6 percent to 16.7 percent; however, those expecting business conditions to worsen also fell, from 8.9 percent to 8.0 percent.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics about what consumers buy and watch.