Consumer Confidence Index for April, 2021

New York, April 27, 2021…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® rose sharply again in April, following a substantial gain in March. The Index now stands at 121.7 (1985=100), up from 109.0 in March. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—soared from 110.1 to 139.6. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—rose moderately, from 108.3 last month to 109.8 in April.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 16.

“Consumer confidence has rebounded sharply over the last two months and is now at its highest level since February 2020,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved significantly in April, suggesting the economic recovery strengthened further in early Q2. Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook held steady this month. Consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, perhaps due to the improving job market and the recent round of stimulus checks. Short-term inflation expectations held steady in April, but remain elevated. Vacation intentions posted a healthy increase, likely boosted by the accelerating vaccine rollout and further loosening of pandemic restrictions.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved significantly in April. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 18.3 percent to 23.3 percent, while the proportion claiming business conditions are “bad” fell from 30.1 percent to 24.8 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 26.5 percent to 37.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 18.5 percent to 13.2 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook improved moderately. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months rose marginally, from 40.3 percent to 40.5 percent, while the proportion expecting business conditions to worsen stood relatively unchanged at 11.9 percent. Consumers’ outlook regarding the job market was slightly less upbeat. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell from 35.9 percent to 34.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 14.4 percent to 15.5 percent. Regarding short-term income prospects, 17.9 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, up from 15.4 percent in March. Those expecting their incomes to decrease fell to 10.9 percent, down from 12.6 percent.

Source: April 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8072

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National residential new homes sales; March 2021

April 23, 2021 – The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential sales statistics for March 2021:

NEW RESIDENTIALSALES
MARCH 2021


New Houses Sold
: 1,021,000
New Houses For Sale
: 307,000
Median Sales Price: $330,800

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, HUD, April 23, 2021

New Home Sales


Sales of new single-family houses in March 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,021,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 20.7 percent (±23.7 percent)* above the revised February rate of 846,000 and is 66.8 percent (±36.7 percent) above the March 2020 estimate of 612,000.
Sales Price. The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2021 was $330,800. The average sales price was $397,800.


For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 307,000. This represents a supply of 3.6 months at the current sales rate.

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National new home permits and starts; March 2021

Building Permits
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,766,000. This is 2.7 percent (±1.7 percent) above the revised February rate of 1,720,000 and is 30.2 percent (±1.8 percent) above the March 2020 rate of 1,356,000. Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 1,199,000; this is 4.6 percent (±1.9 percent) above the revised February figure of 1,146,000.

Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 508,000 in March.

Housing Starts
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,739,000. This is 19.4 percent (±13.7 percent) above the revised February estimate of 1,457,000 and is 37.0 percent (±15.2 percent) above the March 2020 rate of 1,269,000. Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 1,238,000; this is 15.3 percent (±17.4 percent)* above the revised February figure of 1,074,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 477,000.


Housing Completions
Privately-owned housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,580,000. This is 16.6 percent (±14.0 percent) above the revised February estimate of 1,355,000 and is 23.4 percent (±13.7 percent) above the March 2020 rate of 1,280,000. Single-family housing completions in March were at a rate of 1,099,000; this is 5.3 percent (±11.7 percent)* above the revised February rate of 1,044,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 476,000.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, HUD, April 16, 2021
Data Inquiries Media Inquiries
Economic Indicators Division, Residential Construction Branch Public Information Office
301-763-5160 301-763-3030
eid.rcb.customer.service@census.gov pio@census.gov
The April report is scheduled for release on May 18, 2021.

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Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Index; 1Q21

Global Consumer Confidence Hits Record High

                                                 The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey Finds Optimism Rising amid Accelerating Vaccinations and Sustained Fiscal Stimulus  

New York, April 14, 2021…Global consumer confidence soared to record heights in the first quarter of 2021, according to The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, as vaccination campaigns broadened, travel restrictions loosened, and governments and central banks continued to provide economic stimulus.

The survey found that overall global consumer confidence shot up from 98 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 108 in the first quarter of 2021. That figure exceeded the reading of 106 registered in pre-pandemic 2020 Q1 (a figure above 100 is considered positive) and is the highest recorded since the survey began in 2005. Confidence rose in 49 of 65 markets surveyed, as economic activity resumed, COVID-19 cases peaked in many economies, and vaccine development and distribution expanded. The vaccines contributed to that revival, so individual economies’ level of access to them will greatly affect the timing of their recoveries and boosts in consumer confidence. (For 2020 Q4 indexes, results exclude China due to data collection constraints.)

“The lightening of consumer moods globally bodes well for spending throughout the remainder of the year as economies continue to emerge from the 2020 pandemic-induced economic downturn and work toward arresting the spread of the virus,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist of The Conference Board. “Nonetheless, the global economic recovery – and, consequently, consumer sentiment – is likely to continue to vary notably from region to region. Economies with greater access to vaccines are likely to achieve herd immunity, and thus will return to a state of normalcy sooner.”

Additional takeaways include:

The record-setting global economic confidence was driven by increases in most regions but not all of them.

  • Confidence still varied across regions: Latin America (up 13 points, from 86 to 99) and Europe (up 11 points, from 76 to 87) enjoyed the biggest gains in consumer confidence. But both regions started from low bases, and Europe remains the least confident region. North America, by contrast, slipped six points, from 116 to 110, while Africa and the Middle East dropped from 101 to 97.
  • Growing confidence in personal finances, especially, propelled the stronger global sentiment: Consumers were significantly more optimistic about their finances in Q1 2021, with the gap between positive and negative responses standing at +29 percentage points, up substantially from +15 percentage points in Q4 2020. Of the three key drivers of global confidence, personal finances made the largest impact, although the other two drivers also trended upward: Sentiment about job prospects were up overall around the globe and spending intentions flipped from negative (-7 ppts) in Q4 2020 to positive (+6 ppts) in Q1 2021.
  • Consumers are gearing up for a return to normalcy: Consumers spent more on entertainment outside of the home, clothing, and vacations. Taken together, these trends indicate that consumers are increasingly looking forward to returning to normal activities at some point this year. Given that consumption levels significantly contribute to growth in many mature economies, such activity in anticipation of greater freedom later on supports The Conference Board’s upwardly revised projection of 5 percent real GDP growth globally this year.
  • However, around the world, consumers also ramped up savings: 57 percent of global consumers indicated that they are putting money into savings, an increase of 9 ppts from the previous quarter. Their efforts to economize primarily reflected savings on hospitality and entertainment services. Consumers planned to eliminate annual vacations, delay upgrading technology, and cut meals away from home. They also switched to cheaper grocery brands and drove their cars less. And, they indicated that they plan to continue saving on clothing, out-of-home-entertainment, and utilties even after economic conditions improve.

The scars of the recession lingered, with health and economic concerns looming large.

  • A strong majority of consumers (64 percent) said that their market was still in recession during the first quarter of 2021. While that figure dropped sharply from the end of 2020 (down 17 percentage points, from 81 percent) recession concerns remained elevated.
  • Globally, only 41 percent of consumers expected that their economy would be out of recession in 12 months, virtually unchanged from the previous quarter.
  • Consumers’ worries about their own health (22 percent) and economic performance (20 percent) dominated their top concerns. This trend will likely hold through mid-2021 given the continued crisis, and the time it will take to arrest the coronavirus and establish herd immunity.

“With uncertainty around jobs and health prompting consumers to continue economizing, it seems clear that GDP returning to pre-pandemic levels will not in itself mark a return to the old normal,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist of The Conference Board. “Healing in labor markets may take longer, with greater potential for scarring among industries that are vulnerable to automation and digital transformation.”

While consumer sentiment was up overall around the globe, regional disparities persisted.

  • Europe: While nearly all European countries improved in the first quarter of 2021, the region remained the most pessimistic of all surveyed.
    • Job prospects remained the main drag on confidence in the region, despite efforts in many individual economies to contain the negative impact of the pandemic on the labor market.
    • Spending intentions improved in all large European economies, except in Germany. However, restrictions on activity, which were announced in March and April amid an increase in COVID-19 cases, limited consumers’ willingness to spend.
  • Asia-Pacific (AP): Consumer confidence continued to improve in 10 of 14 AP markets, not including China, as effective containment measures, fiscal stimulus packages in both advanced and emerging economies in the region, and a comparative advantage in exports of goods and technology helped boost regional sentiment.
    • With a score of 118, AP was the region with the highest consumer confidence.
    • The Q4 2020 survey did not include China, but the Q1 2021 reading of sentiment there (121) marked a dramatic improvement from the Q2 2020 (97), which was the last time that country was included in the survey.
  • Latin America: With the region experiencing the largest increase in positive consumer sentiment, its confidence gauge flipped from negative to nearly positive territory, with every economy covered by the survey reporting sizable gains in confidence.
    • Rising optimism about personal finances translated into a greater share of consumers spending their spare cash, but plans to economize on utilties and clothing remained.
    • Although COVID-19 cases continued to rise in Brazil and Chile, infections continued to trend downward for many economies. General concerns about the economy ebbed as most governments in the region passed generous fiscal relief packages.
  • Africa & The Middle East (A&ME): Consumer confidence in the region dipped slightly in the first quarter of 2021 from the final quarter of 2020, making it one of two regions, along with North America, to see a retreat in overall outlook.
    • There was a significant range of sentiment among countries in the region, with scores ranging from Morocco on one end (70) to Saudi Arabia (125) at the other. The split may relate to exposure to non-oil sources of growth, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE—relatively less dependent upon oil revenues—reporting improved confidence in Q1 2021.
    • The steep decline in consumption due to the pandemic appeared to be short-lived in the Gulf with the vaccination campaigns on the way, although slow, and the resulting economic rebound in 2021.
  • North America: Consumer confidence fell in the first quarter of 2021, driven by a dip in confidence in the US – likely due to the slow initial rollout of the vaccines and the heightened political tensions from the protracted election season – while confidence rose in Canada. The decline is expected to be temporary.
    • In the US, concerns about the economy loomed large, but ebbed slightly. Concerns about health ticked up slightly. Notably, concerns about political stability appeared to lessen following a spike in the last quarter of 2020.
    • In Canada, concerns about health and job prospects both ticked up, but worries about the economy fell.

Media Contact

Jonathan.Liu@tcb.org

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

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The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; March 2021

New York, March 30, 2021…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® surged in March to its highest reading in a year, after a modest increase in February. The Index now stands at 109.7 (1985=100), up from 90.4 in February. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—climbed from 89.6 to 110.0. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—also improved, from 90.9 last month to 109.6 in March.  

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was March 19.

“Consumer Confidence increased to its highest level since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their short-term outlook improved significantly, an indication that economic growth is likely to strengthen further in the coming months. Consumers’ renewed optimism boosted their purchasing intentions for homes, autos and several big-ticket items. However, concerns of inflation in the short-term rose, most likely due to rising prices at the pump, and may temper spending intentions in the months ahead.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved significantly in March. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 16.1 percent to 18.5 percent, while the proportion claiming business conditions are “bad” fell from 39.7 percent to 30.5 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 21.6 percent to 26.3 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 22.4 percent to 18.5 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook improved considerably. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months rose from 30.7 percent to 40.8 percent, while the proportion expecting business conditions will worsen declined from 17.7 percent to 11.0 percent. Consumers’ outlook regarding the job market was also more favorable. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 27.4 percent to 36.1 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 21.3 percent to 13.4 percent. Regarding short-term income prospects, 15.5 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, up modestly from 14.8 percent in February. However, 13.3 percent expect their incomes to decrease, up slightly from 12.9 percent last month.

Source: March 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8053

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National new home sales metrics; February 2021

MONTHLY NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES, FEBRUARY 2021
Release Number: CB21-46
March 23, 2021 – The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential sales statistics for February 2021:
NEW RESIDENTIALSALES
FEBRUARY 2021


New Houses Sold
: 775,000
New Houses For Sale
: 312,000
Median Sales Price: $349,400


New Home Sales
Sales of new single-family houses in February 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 775,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 18.2 percent (±13.9 percent) below the revised January rate of 948,000, but is 8.2 percent
(±21.7 percent)* above the February 2020 estimate of 716,000.

Sales Price
The median sales price of new houses sold in February 2021 was $349,400. The average sales price was $416,000.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of February was 312,000. This represents a supply of 4.8 months at the current sales rate.

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National new home construction metrics; February 2021

MONTHLY NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION, FEBRUARY 2021
Release Number: CB21-41
March 17, 2021 – The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for February 2021:
NEW RESIDENTIALCONSTRUCTION
FEBRUARY 2021
Building Permits: 1,682,000
Housing Starts: 1,421,000
Housing Completions: 1,362,000
Next Release: April 16, 2021
Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, HUD, March 17, 2021
Building Permits
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,682,000. This is 10.8 percent (±1.0 percent) below the revised January rate of 1,886,000, but is 17.0 percent (±1.4 percent) above the February 2020 rate of 1,438,000. Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 1,143,000; this is 10.0 percent (±0.8 percent) below the revised January figure of 1,270,000. Authorizations of units
in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 495,000 in February.
Housing Starts
Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,421,000. This is 10.3 percent (±10.5 percent)* below the revised January estimate of 1,584,000 and is 9.3 percent (±9.4 percent)* below the February 2020 rate of 1,567,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 1,040,000; this is 8.5 percent (±9.3 percent)* below the revised January figure of 1,136,000. The February rate for units in buildings with
five units or more was 372,000.
Housing Completions
Privately-owned housing completions in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,362,000. This is 2.9 percent (±10.0 percent)* above the revised January estimate of 1,324,000 and is 5.0 percent (±11.9 percent)* above the February 2020 rate of 1,297,000. Single-family housing completions in February were at a rate of 1,042,000; this is 2.8 percent (±10.5 percent)* above the revised January rate of 1,014,000. The February rate for units in buildings
with five units or more was 314,000.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, HUD, March 17, 2021
Data Inquiries Media Inquiries
Economic Indicators Division, Residential Construction Branch Public Information Office
301-763-5160 301-763-3030
eid.rcb.customer.service@census.gov pio@census.gov
The March report is scheduled for release on April 16, 2021.

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National new home sales metrics; January 2021

New Home Sales
Sales of new single-family houses in January 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 923,000, according to
estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This is 4.3 percent (±18.1 percent)* above the revised December rate of 885,000 and is 19.3 percent (±19.5
percent)* above the January 2020 estimate of 774,000.
Sales Price
The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2021 was $346,400. The average sales price was $408,800.
For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 307,000. This represents a
supply of 4.0 months at the current sales rate.

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index for January, 2021

New York, February 23, 2021…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® improved again in February, after increasing in January. The Index now stands at 91.3 (1985=100), up from 88.9 in January. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—climbed from 85.5 to 92.0. However, the Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—fell marginally, from 91.2 last month to 90.8 in February.  

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was February 11. The survey results did not fully capture the events surrounding the Texas power crisis nor the loosening of dining restrictions in NYC.

“After three months of consecutive declines in the Present Situation Index, consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in February,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “This course reversal suggests economic growth has not slowed further. While the Expectations Index fell marginally in February, consumers remain cautiously optimistic, on the whole, about the outlook for the coming months. Notably, vacation intentions—particularly, plans to travel outside the U.S. and via air—saw an uptick this month, and are poised to improve further as vaccination efforts expand.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in February. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 15.8 percent to 16.5 percent, while the proportion claiming business conditions are “bad” fell from 42.4 percent to 39.9 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 20.0 percent to 21.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 22.5 percent to 21.2 percent.

Consumers, however, were marginally less optimistic about the short-term outlook in February. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months fell from 34.1 percent to 31.0 percent; however, the proportion expecting business conditions will worsen also declined, from 19.0 percent to 17.7 percent. Likewise, consumers’ outlook regarding the job market was somewhat mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 30.4 percent to 26.1 percent; however, those anticipating fewer jobs also declined, from 22.1 percent to 20.6 percent. Regarding short-term income prospects, 15.2 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, down slightly from 15.8 percent in January. Conversely, 13.2 percent expect their incomes to decrease, down from 15.5 percent last month.

Source: February 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8036

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Conference Board LEI Index for January; 2021

NEW YORK, February 22, 2021The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for theU.S. increased 0.5 percent in January to 110.3 (2016 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in December and a 0.9 percent increase in November.

“While the pace of increase in the U.S. LEI has slowed since mid-2020, January’s gains were broad-based and suggest economic growth should improve gradually over the first half of 2021,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. “As the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 accelerates, labor markets and overall growth are likely to continue improving through the rest of this year as well. The Conference Board now expects the U.S. economy to expand by 4.4 percent in 2021, after a 3.5 percent contraction in 2020.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in January to 103.3 (2016 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in December and no change in November.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. decreased 0.6 percent in January to 106.2 (2016 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in December and no change in November.

The next release is scheduled for Thursday, March 18 at 10 A.M. ET.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S.

The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The leading, coincident, and lagging economic indexes are essentially composite averages of several individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators. They are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component – primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.

The ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. include:

Average weekly hours, manufacturing

Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance

Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials

ISM® Index of New Orders

Manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

Building permits, new private housing units

Stock prices, 500 common stocks

Leading Credit Index™

Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds

Average consumer expectations for business conditions

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