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Consumer Confidence Survey[TM]: confidence dips, but consumers still confident.

March Results

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in February, lost more ground in March. The Index now stands at 102.4 (1985=100), down from 104.4 in February. The Present Situation Index dipped to 115.6 from 116.8. The Expectations Index declined to 93.7 from 96.1 last month.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS NFO. TNS NFO is one of the TNS group of companies (LSE: TNN). The cutoff date for March's preliminary results was March 23rd.

Consumers' overall assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable. The percentage claiming business conditions are "good" edged up to 25.8 percent from 24.6 percent, but those claiming conditions are "bad" also edged up to 16.0 percent versus 15.7 percent in February. The employment picture was also mixed. Consumers saying jobs are "hard to get" rose to 23.8 percent from 22.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are "plentiful" improved to 21.3 percent from 21.1 percent.

Consumers' short-term outlook eased further in March. Those anticipating business conditions to improve increased to 19.2 percent from 17.9 percent, but consumers expecting business conditions to worsen increased slightly to 8.2 percent from 7.8 percent. The outlook for the labor market, however, was more upbeat than in February. The percentage of consumers expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months was virtually unchanged at 15.1 percent. However, those expecting fewer jobs declined to 15.8 percent from 16.5 percent last month. The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes to improve in the months ahead edged down to 16.7 percent from 18.7 percent last month.

Consumers are still quite confident despite recent increases in unemployment claims and rising prices at the gas pump. Their overall assessment of current economic conditions remains favorable and their short-term outlook suggests little change in the months ahead. In fact, while expectations have lost ground, consumers anticipate the job market will continue to improve and easing employment concerns should help keep spending on track.
Consumer Confidence and Buying Plans
Based on surveys conducted by TNS NFO
Percentage of households = 100%

 Business Employment Income

All series 2004
seasonally adjusted Mar. Apr. May June July Aug.

 Composite Series: Index Numbers, 1985 = 100

Consumer Confidence Index 88.5 93.0 93.1 102.8 105.7 98.7
 Present Situation 84.4 90.4 90.5 105.9 106.4 100.7
 Expectations 91.3 94.8 94.8 100.8 105.3 97.3

 Appraisal of Present Situation: Percent

Business Conditions
 Good 20.7 21.7 22.2 25.8 25.2 23.0
 Bad 23.1 21.7 21.6 17.4 19.1 20.2
 Normal 56.2 56.6 56.2 56.8 55.7 56.8
Employment
 Jobs plentiful 14.7 15.6 16.6 18.3 19.7 18.4
 Jobs not so plentiful 55.4 56.4 53.1 55.5 54.6 55.6
 Jobs hard to get 29.9 28.0 30.3 26.2 25.7 26.0

 Expectations for Six Months Hence: Percent

Business Conditions
 Better 19.5 20.8 22.8 23.5 23.0 20.2
 Worse 9.7 9.3 10.1 9.1 7.1 8.8
 Same 70.8 69.9 67.1 67.4 69.9 71.0
Employment
 More jobs 15.7 18.3 18.7 19.9 19.5 16.3
 Fewer jobs 17.3 17.7 17.3 16.8 13.5 15.1
 Same 67.0 64.0 64.0 63.3 67.0 68.6
Income
 Increase 18.0 17.4 17.1 19.7 18.0 19.7
 Decrease 10.1 9.6 10.2 8.6 8.5 9.2
 Same 71.9 73.0 72.7 71.7 73.5 71.1

 Plans to Buy Within Six Months: Percent

Automobile
 Yes 5.4 6.6 6.4 6.4 6.8 6.5
 New 2.3 3.3 2.8 3.0 3.3 2.9
 Used 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.5 2.5
 Uncertain 0.7 0.8 1.0 0.6 1.0 1.1
Home
 Yes 4.2 3.6 4.1 3.6 4.1 3.9
 New 1.4 0.8 1.2 1.0 0.9 1.3
 Lived in 1.8 2.0 1.7 1.5 2.1 1.7
 Uncertain 1.0 0.8 1.2 1.1 1.1 0.9
Major appliances
 Total plans 29.0 31.2 33.0 34.3 30.4 29.0
 Refrigerator 4.6 4.8 5.4 5.5 4.1 4.2
 Washing machine 3.6 3.5 4.3 4.7 4.5 3.6
 TV Set 6.7 7.7 7.9 7.9 7.4 7.5
 Vacuum Cleaner 5.2 5.2 6.2 5.4 5.4 5.5
 Range 3.4 3.7 2.8 3.7 3.2 3.0
 Clothes dryer 3.7 3.9 4.2 5.1 3.8 3.4
 Air conditioner 1.8 2.4 2.2 2.0 2.0 1.8
Carpet 5.2 4.8 5.9 6.5 6.0 5.4

 Vacation Intended Within
 Six Months: Percent

Vacation Intended 42.7 42.7 42.1
 Destination
 U.S. 36.3 35.5 34.9
 Foreign country 8.3 9.3 8.4
 Means of Travel
 Automobile 22.4 22.4 21.8
 Airplane 20.6 20.5 18.5
 Other 3.7 3.9 4.1

All series 2004 2005
seasonally adjusted Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan.

 Composite Series: Index Numbers, 1985 = 100

Consumer Confidence Index 96.7 92.9 92.6 102.7 105.1
 Present Situation 95.3 94.0 96.3 105.7 112.1
 Expectations 97.7 92.2 90.2 100.7 100.4

 Appraisal of Present Situation: Percent

Business Conditions
 Good 23.4 21.6 23.2 24.4 26.1
 Bad 20.4 21.4 20.2 17.8 18.1
 Normal 56.2 57.0 56.6 57.8 55.8
Employment
 Jobs plentiful 16.6 17.4 17.1 19.4 21.0
 Jobs not so plentiful 55.4 54.7 54.9 54.2 54.7
 Jobs hard to get 28.0 27.9 28.0 26.4 24.3

 Expectations for Six Months Hence: Percent

Business Conditions
 Better 21.6 20.7 20.3 22.4 22.0
 Worse 9.4 10.5 11.4 7.7 7.8
 Same 69.0 68.8 68.3 69.9 70.2
Employment
 More jobs 17.8 16.7 17.6 16.4 16.6
 Fewer jobs 16.2 18.3 19.3 15.3 15.1
 Same 66.0 65.0 63.1 68.3 68.3
Income
 Increase 20.0 19.0 19.2 21.0 19.0
 Decrease 9.2 9.5 10.6 8.5 8.1
 Same 70.8 71.5 70.2 70.5 72.9

 Plans to Buy Within Six Months: Percent

Automobile
 Yes 6.3 7.6 4.6 6.6 7.2
 New 2.6 3.2 2.1 3.2 2.4
 Used 2.5 3.2 1.8 2.4 4.0
 Uncertain 1.2 1.2 0.7 1.0 0.8
Home
 Yes 3.9 3.6 2.6 3.5 3.5
 New 1.0 0.9 0.7 1.1 0.9
 Lived in 2.0 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.6
 Uncertain 0.9 1.3 0.6 1.2 1.0
Major appliances
 Total plans 29.8 27.8 25.3 30.1 28.3
 Refrigerator 5.1 4.3 4.2 4.1 5.2
 Washing machine 3.6 3.8 3.5 4.0 3.0
 TV Set 6.6 7.5 6.4 8.2 7.2
 Vacuum Cleaner 5.8 4.5 4.7 5.3 5.5
 Range 3.4 3.2 2.6 3.2 2.8
 Clothes dryer 3.0 3.1 2.6 3.7 2.9
 Air conditioner 2.3 1.4 1.3 1.6 1.7
Carpet 5.3 5.0 4.0 5.2 6.1

 Vacation Intended Within
 Six Months: Percent

Vacation Intended 47.8 48.5
 Destination
 U.S. 39.7 39.4
 Foreign country 9.3 10.1
 Means of Travel
 Automobile 25.4 25.5
 Airplane 18.4 18.7
 Other 4.7 5.2

All series 2005
seasonally adjusted Feb.(r) Mar.(p)

 Composite Series: Index
 Numbers, 1985 = 100

Consumer Confidence Index 104.4 102.4
 Present Situation 116.8 115.6
 Expectations 96.1 93.7

 Appraisal of Present
 Situation: Percent

Business Conditions
 Good 24.6 25.8
 Bad 15.7 16.0
 Normal 59.7 58.2
Employment
 Jobs plentiful 21.1 21.3
 Jobs not so plentiful 56.5 54.9
 Jobs hard to get 22.4 23.8

 Expectations for Six
 Months Hence: Percent

Business Conditions
 Better 17.9 19.2
 Worse 7.8 8.2
 Same 74.3 72.6
Employment
 More jobs 15.0 15.1
 Fewer jobs 16.5 15.8
 Same 68.5 69.1
Income
 Increase 18.7 16.7
 Decrease 7.3 9.3
 Same 74.0 74.0

 Plans to Buy Within
 Six Months: Percent

Automobile
 Yes 7.2 5.7
 New 3.0 3.1
 Used 3.1 1.9
 Uncertain 1.1 0.7
Home
 Yes 4.1 3.7
 New 1.3 1.4
 Lived in 1.8 1.6
 Uncertain 1.0 0.7
Major appliances
 Total plans 28.2 30.1
 Refrigerator 4.4 5.3
 Washing machine 3.8 4.1
 TV Set 7.2 7.3
 Vacuum Cleaner 5.0 5.3
 Range 2.7 3.0
 Clothes dryer 3.5 3.8
 Air conditioner 1.6 1.3
Carpet 4.3 5.2

 Vacation Intended Within
 Six Months: Percent

Vacation Intended 42.9
 Destination
 U.S. 36.5
 Foreign country 8.5
 Means of Travel
 Automobile 22.9
 Airplane 19.3
 Other 3.1

(p)--preliminary (r)--revised

Inflation Interest Rates Stock Prices

Not Seasonally 2004
Adjusted Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct.

 Expectations for Twelve Months Hence: Percent

Inflation Rate
 Average 4.6 4.8 5.2 5.1 4.4 4.5 4.5 5.0

Interest Rates
 Higher 54.9 55.9 69.8 68.6 75.3 69.7 67.6 70.1
 Same 35.2 34.1 22.3 23.5 19.3 22.9 26.0 23.4
 Lower 9.9 10.0 7.9 7.9 5.4 7.4 6.4 6.5

Stock Prices
 Increase 39.3 39.7 34.6 36.5 39.0 33.5 36.9 33.2
 Same 39.9 36.9 40.4 40.4 41.3 41.8 41.7 41.8
 Decrease 20.8 23.4 25.0 23.1 19.7 24.7 21.4 25.0

Not Seasonally 2004 2005
Adjusted Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb.(r) Mar.(p)

 Expectations for Twelve Months Hence: Percent

Inflation Rate
 Average 4.8 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.8

Interest Rates
 Higher 67.3 69.2 70.3 71.2 69.5
 Same 26.6 24.2 24.1 22.6 22.9
 Lower 6.1 6.6 5.6 6.2 7.6

Stock Prices
 Increase 41.6 39.3 39.4 39.4 37.6
 Same 40.2 40.7 41.3 41.2 41.6
 Decrease 18.2 20.0 19.3 19.4 20.8

All series 2004
seasonally adjusted Mar. Apr. May June July Aug.

Age of Household Head
 Under 35 101.7 105.5 99.2 113.5 112.1 114.6
 35-54 88.2 89.8 94.8 102.4 103.8 95.3
 55 and over 81.4 88.8 87.2 96.9 103.4 95.7

Household Income
 Under $15,000 61.5 63.4 66.4 69.8 71.6 66.2
 $15,000-24,999 69.4 76.2 68.3 90.9 89.0 83.6
 $25,000-34,999 88.0 88.2 85.2 100.1 93.9 79.5
 $35,000-49,999 79.6 96.9 90.7 104.3 101.7 104.9
 $50,000 and over 105.9 107.5 111.4 116.6 125.2 116.6

All series 2004 2005
seasonally adjusted Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb.(r)

Age of Household Head
 Under 35 109.3 105.9 95.8 114.0 116.5 107.7
 35-54 97.9 96.8 89.0 99.3 103.2 104.2
 55 and over 90.3 83.4 93.7 101.6 101.2 100.8

Household Income
 Under $15,000 61.1 61.2 59.4 72.5 75.6 73.5
 $15,000-24,999 78.1 73.1 73.1 79.6 88.5 84.7
 $25,000-34,999 94.5 95.2 86.8 93.8 92.5 96.9
 $35,000-49,999 97.7 89.5 91.0 107.5 104.7 106.0
 $50,000 and over 113.6 108.2 110.5 119.6 122.5 121.9

 3 mos.
All series 2005 Percent
seasonally adjusted Mar.(p) Change *

Age of Household Head
 Under 35 104.2 4.0
 35-54 100.1 7.9
 55 and over 102.0 9.1

Household Income
 Under $15,000 67.3 12.1
 $15,000-24,999 94.7 18.7
 $25,000-34,999 92.9 2.4
 $35,000-49,999 94.0 5.8
 $50,000 and over 120.2 7.8

* Percent Change: Average of last three months shown as compared with
preceding three months. Age and Income data have been adjusted for
seasonal variations.

Consumer Confidence by Region

Seasonally unadjusted
Index numbers: 2004
U.S. Average, 1985 = 100 Feb. Mar. Apr. May June

New England
 Consumer Confidence Index 81.3 85.8 81.2 81.8 100.1
 Present Situation 48.8 71.3 74.8 79.8 101.0
 Expectations 103.0 95.5 85.5 83.1 99.6

Middle Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 72.6 69.4 83.7 78.8 82.9
 Present Situation 65.8 56.9 72.2 72.5 83.1
 Expectations 77.2 77.7 91.4 82.9 82.8

East North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 71.4 74.4 75.3 79.3 79.8
 Present Situation 51.9 55.6 56.6 68.9 82.6
 Expectations 84.4 87.0 87.9 86.3 78.0

West North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 93.3 89.4 100.1 86.3 100.0
 Present Situation 77.2 84.5 103.9 93.2 108.6
 Expectations 104.0 92.6 97.6 81.8 94.3

South Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 105.7 104.7 103.0 109.4 118.8
 Present Situation 106.2 112.7 114.5 121.5 134.7
 Expectations 105.3 99.3 95.3 101.4 108.2

East South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 91.5 84.6 83.0 80.9 105.1
 Present Situation 79.0 74.8 81.9 79.2 115.3
 Expectations 99.9 91.2 83.8 82.1 98.3

West South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 95.5 95.0 103.4 92.9 109.3
 Present Situation 83.4 80.4 95.7 89.7 110.3
 Expectations 103.6 104.8 108.6 95.0 108.7

Mountain
 Consumer Confidence Index 104.3 98.4 100.2 99.3 122.0
 Present Situation 93.2 92.0 106.4 98.3 127.7
 Expectations 111.7 102.6 96.1 100.0 118.2

Pacific
 Consumer Confidence Index 94.1 93.2 93.3 96.1 103.3
 Present Situation 80.6 78.4 77.9 82.5 103.6
 Expectations 103.1 103.1 103.5 105.1 103.2

Seasonally unadjusted
Index numbers: 2004
U.S. Average, 1985 = 100 July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov.

New England
 Consumer Confidence Index 101.4 82.3 77.1 87.7 88.5
 Present Situation 102.9 95.5 83.3 91.4 99.5
 Expectations 100.3 73.5 72.9 85.3 81.2

Middle Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 89.5 84.9 89.0 78.9 67.9
 Present Situation 92.4 92.3 80.7 86.5 66.4
 Expectations 87.5 80.0 94.6 73.9 69.0

East North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 87.4 82.2 77.4 78.0 80.7
 Present Situation 79.7 73.6 69.1 80.5 77.2
 Expectations 92.5 88.0 82.9 76.4 83.1

West North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 109.9 96.0 95.1 93.7 103.9
 Present Situation 116.5 100.5 103.1 104.4 120.9
 Expectations 105.6 92.9 89.8 86.6 92.6

South Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 117.5 104.1 110.8 113.4 112.2
 Present Situation 127.5 116.6 122.1 120.4 129.3
 Expectations 110.9 95.8 103.3 108.7 100.8

East South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 104.2 97.9 89.4 105.0 100.2
 Present Situation 107.7 99.4 101.2 112.2 109.1
 Expectations 101.8 96.9 81.6 100.2 94.2

West South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 104.6 106.4 107.8 106.3 107.7
 Present Situation 110.4 104.8 103.2 108.8 115.8
 Expectations 100.7 107.5 110.9 104.6 102.3

Mountain
 Consumer Confidence Index 112.7 106.1 116.0 111.0 95.1
 Present Situation 118.7 109.5 137.9 115.4 110.1
 Expectations 108.7 103.9 101.5 108.1 85.1

Pacific
 Consumer Confidence Index 111.4 104.4 106.3 102.2 98.2
 Present Situation 109.0 107.7 105.7 101.9 96.8
 Expectations 113.1 102.2 106.7 102.4 99.2

Seasonally unadjusted
Index numbers: 2004 2005
U.S. Average, 1985 = 100 Dec. Jan. Feb.(r) Mar.(p)

New England
 Consumer Confidence Index 102.4 98.9 109.7 102.6
 Present Situation 109.7 101.9 129.3 113.9
 Expectations 97.6 96.9 96.6 95.2

Middle Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 83.7 86.7 89.0 82.8
 Present Situation 94.8 84.0 82.3 87.7
 Expectations 76.3 88.5 93.4 79.5

East North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 80.0 87.0 84.0 83.9
 Present Situation 67.6 79.7 78.0 73.5
 Expectations 88.2 91.9 88.0 90.9

West North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 111.1 104.7 117.5 92.9
 Present Situation 112.6 101.3 131.8 92.5
 Expectations 110.2 107.0 107.9 93.3

South Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 118.2 114.5 120.7 122.1
 Present Situation 135.8 132.0 138.0 142.5
 Expectations 106.5 102.8 109.2 108.5

East South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 100.6 115.6 99.3 114.6
 Present Situation 110.3 123.1 102.3 124.7
 Expectations 94.2 110.7 97.3 107.9

West South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 107.8 125.7 115.5 113.4
 Present Situation 121.0 128.8 112.1 129.3
 Expectations 99.0 123.7 117.9 102.8

Mountain
 Consumer Confidence Index 121.4 119.2 115.8 116.2
 Present Situation 134.6 126.1 128.1 128.8
 Expectations 112.6 114.5 107.7 107.8

Pacific
 Consumer Confidence Index 102.9 110.6 102.9 103.8
 Present Situation 109.2 108.8 106.7 113.1
 Expectations 98.7 111.8 100.4 97.5

Seasonally unadjusted 3-MONTH AVG.
Index numbers: Jan.,Feb.,Mar. Percent
U.S. Average, 1985 = 100 2004 2005 Change

New England
 Consumer Confidence Index 88.5 103.7 17.2
 Present Situation 68.9 115.0 67.0
 Expectations 101.5 96.2 -5.2

Middle Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 75.2 86.2 14.6
 Present Situation 61.7 84.6 37.2
 Expectations 84.2 87.2 3.5

East North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 76.5 85.0 11.1
 Present Situation 56.2 77.1 37.2
 Expectations 90.0 90.3 0.3

West North Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 93.0 105.0 12.9
 Present Situation 82.2 108.5 32.0
 Expectations 100.2 102.7 2.5

South Atlantic
 Consumer Confidence Index 106.6 119.1 11.7
 Present Situation 108.5 137.5 26.7
 Expectations 105.4 106.8 1.4

East South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 92.8 109.8 18.4
 Present Situation 82.9 116.7 40.8
 Expectations 99.4 105.3 5.9

West South Central
 Consumer Confidence Index 99.5 118.2 18.8
 Present Situation 85.4 123.4 44.4
 Expectations 108.9 114.8 5.4

Mountain
 Consumer Confidence Index 107.2 117.1 9.2
 Present Situation 95.9 127.6 33.1
 Expectations 114.8 110.0 -4.1

Pacific
 Consumer Confidence Index 94.7 105.8 11.6
 Present Situation 78.0 109.5 40.4
 Expectations 105.9 103.2 -2.5

* Percent Change: Average of last three months shown as compared with
the same period a year ago. Regional data are not adjusted for seasonal
variation.
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Article Details
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Author:Franco, Lynn
Publication:Consumer Confidence Survey
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Words:3650
Previous Article:Current conditions improve, but expectations weaken.
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