US consumer confidence ticks up in March

Consumer confidence inched up in March after two straight monthly declines, even as persistent inflation, bank collapses, and anxiety over a possible recession weighed on American households, the Associated Press reports.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 104.2 in March from 103.4 in February. Optimism about current conditions fell, though consumers grew slightly more positive about the short-term future. That’s a reversal from recent surveys.

The board said that despite the uptick in confidence, the index remains below 2022′s average level of 104.5.

The business research group’s present situation index — which measures consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions — inched down to 151.1 from 153 last month.

The board’s expectations index — a measure of consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business and labor conditions — rose in March to 73 from 70.4 in February. A reading under 80 often signals a recession in the coming year, according to the Conference Board.