March 11, 2021 – Consumer confidence improved marginally in February to 91.3, up from 88.9 in January. The Present Situation Index is back in the driver’s seat for the first time in several months, jumping 6.5 points to 92.0, with the Expectations Index declining slightly to 90.8. Consumers may have been waiting for things to get better in the future, but with the accelerated vaccine distribution and expectations that the economy will likely reopen more quickly, they appear to be growing more confident in current conditions.
The perceived difficulty in finding jobs waned slightly, with almost equal percentages of consumers stating jobs were either plentiful or hard to get, an improvement over January’s slightly more negative split. However, over 23 percent more consumers see business conditions as bad than good. This is an improvement over past months, but will need to move significantly further to reflect any true recovery in confidence. Notably, February 11 was the cutoff for interviews for the initial numbers, too early to fully capture the positive effects from partial loosening of dining restrictions in New York, or the negative effects of storms and power outages in Texas and elsewhere. There may be some shifts in the final February numbers as a result.