Tuesday, March 31, 2020

US Consumer Confidence Holds Up Better Than Expected

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The U.S. economy entered the era of coronavirus on a strong footing but consumers are worried about the short-term future, a survey of consumers showed Tuesday. The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence fell sharply in March but the decline was nearly all attributable to the expectations portion of the survey. The present situation component fell from 169.3 to 167.7, a small decline to a still historically elevated level, indicating that U.S. consumers felt comfortable with their jobs and business conditions even as many parts of the economy began to shut down in March. The expectations gauge, however, crashed. This fell from 108.1 last month to 88.2 in March, the lowest level of the Trump presidency. “Consumer confidence declined sharply in March due to a deterioration in the short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “March’s decline in confidence is more in line with a severe contraction – rather than a temporary shock – and further declines are sure to follow.” The resilience in the current conditions was evident in views of both general business conditions and the labor market. The share of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” was relatively unchanged at 39.6 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased, from 10.8 percent to 11.4 percent. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 46.5 percent to 44.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” was unchanged at 13.9 percent.

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New op-ed from David Marion: It would be foolish to suggest that public officials take their eyes off the serious threat that COVID-19 poses to the physical and financial well-being of the American people. It also would be foolish, however, for them not to be thinking about the cultural implications of COVID-19. As a people, we have not been very good about attending to our cultural well-being, understood broadly and not narrowly as encompassing simply literature and the arts. The cultural well-being of Americans is nothing less than the state of our entire “way of life” as a people. • Full commentary piece on our website #covıd19 #covid_19 #covid #coronavirus #coronavirusupdate #coronavirusoutbreak #culture #america #politics #society #washtimes #washingtontimes #boldopinion #stayhome #socialdistancing

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