Fannie Mae monthly survey of U.S. Housing market; May 2021

FILE PHOTO: Real estate signs advertise new homes for sale in multiple new developments in York County, South Carolina

By Evan Sully

(Reuters) – A record-low percentage of U.S. consumers believe now is a good time to buy a home, with worries about surging prices and a small supply of houses on the market outweighing improved sentiment about their jobs and income, a survey from home financing giant Fannie Mae showed on Monday.

The percentage of consumers who said it is a good time to buy a home declined in May to 35% from 47%, Fannie Mae said in its monthly survey of the U.S. housing market. This reading, the lowest since Fannie Mae began the survey about a decade ago, marked the second straight monthly decline and represented a drop of 18 percentage points since March.

In comparison, the percentage of consumers indicating that now is a bad time to purchase a home increased to 56% from 48% last month.

The data is part of Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), which increased by 1.0 point to 80.0 last month and is up 12.5 points from a year earlier. The index’s record high was 93.8 in August 2019.

“The ‘good time to buy’ component fell further – hitting another all-time survey low – as consumers appear to be acutely aware of higher home prices and the low supply of homes, the two reasons cited most frequently for that particular sentiment,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said in a statement.

The improvement of a U.S. economy that had been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic has left a challenging environment for home buyers.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported last Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4% from a week prior to the lowest in more than a year.

(Reporting by Evan Sully in Dallas; Editing by Will Dunham)https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf.html

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Conference Board Employment Trends Index; May 2021

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Increased in May

Historically rapid job growth expected in the coming months

NEW YORK, June 7, 2021…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) significantly increased in May, after an increase in April. The index now stands at 107.35, up from 104.31 (a downward revision) in the previous month. The index is currently up 39.4 percent from a year ago.

“In the past three months, the Employment Trends Index grew much faster than any other three-month period in the history of the index prior to the pandemic. This marked acceleration suggests historically strong job growth in the coming months,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “Past index data had signaled growing labor shortages, but the most recent data strongly reinforces this trend. Indeed, forty-eight percent of firms reported an inability to fill positions in May’s NFIB survey—an all-time record. Job shortages are likely to be more acute in those states that opened first, less in those that still have restrictions. The labor shortages are causing wage growth to surge. Average hourly earnings in the past two months rose by 7.4 percent (annual rate), which is two to three times the typical growth rate in recent decades. If the current rate of wage growth continues for several more months, it could significantly impact inflation and monetary policy. Toward the end of 2021, labor shortages are likely to ease as some of the labor supply constraints moderate.”

May’s increase was driven by positive contributions from all eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, the components were: Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Industrial Production; Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Job Openings; Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales; Number of Temporary Employees; and Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers.

The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. Turning points in the index indicate that a turning point in the number of jobs is about to occur in the coming months. The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight leading indicators of employment aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

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Conference Board survey of employers; 5/21

Survey: US Businesses Face Historic Difficulty Finding Qualified Workers

New York, June 2, 2021…Amid a rapid reopening of the US economy and a huge increase in demand for workers, a new survey from The Conference Board found that businesses are having immense difficulty finding qualified workers. In fact, 80 percent of organizations hiring mostly industry and manual services workers report difficulty finding qualified workers, with 25 percent reporting it is very difficult. This compares to 74 percent before the pandemic, with 4 percent reporting it was very difficult.

The results of the survey suggest human resources departments will face four main challenges in the months ahead: recruiting qualified workers and retaining existing ones; adjusting to a world where a large share of employees work primarily remotely; addressing deteriorating employee well-being; and managing the return to the workplace.

Conducted by The Conference Board in April 2021, more than 230 HR executives, primarily from large US companies, weighed in about COVID-19’s ongoing impact on both the workforce and the workplace. This online survey is a follow up to similar surveys conducted in April and September 2020.

Key findings from the new survey include:

Both attracting and retaining qualified workers is a growing challenge, especially for organizations employing mostly industry and manual services workers.

  • Industry and manual services workers—a hot commodity: 80 percent of organizations hiring mostly industry and manual services workers report it is somewhat or very difficult to find qualified workers, up from 74 percent before the pandemic.Organizations report it is very difficult to find qualified workers at more than six times the rate (4 percent prepandemic vs. 25 percent now).
  • Retaining workers also a challenge: 49 percent of organizations with mostly industry and manual services workers report that it is also somewhat or very difficult to retain workers, up from 30 percent before the pandemic. Among those employing professional and office workers, 28 percent report difficulty retaining workers, up from 23 percent before the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, industry and manual services workers were high in demand and short in supply. While this changed at the onset of the pandemic, as the economy reopens this trend is resurfacing—and fast,” said Frank Steemers, report co-author and Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “This poses a growing challenge to companies that are looking to attract and retain this cohort of the US workforce. On the flip side, it bodes well for the workers themselves, accelerating wage growth and offering more employment opportunities.”

Expect workplaces to be emptier and more diffused as remote work remains the norm postpandemic.

  • The remote work boom is here to stay: Nearly 40 percent of human capital executives said that they expect a significant number of their employees (40 percent or more) will still work primarily remotely one year after COVID-19 subsides. This figured has doubled since the April 2020 survey, when only 19 percent of respondents expected the same.
  • Prepandemic, most organizations (nearly 75 percent) had fewer than 10 percent of employees who primarily worked remotely.

Increased productivity appears to have come at a significant cost to employee well-being.

  • The tradeoff: Nearly 60 percent of companies reported that productivity increased in their organization over the past year. This is not unqualified good news, however. Higher productivity and increased working hours have taken a toll:
    • 76 percent of respondents said that they had seen an increase in employees identifying as burned out;
    • 72 percent said that more employees had sought mental health support;
    • 60 percent said the number of vacation days used decreased;
    • 55 percent reported a decrease in work-life balance.

“During the pandemic, employees were often working longer hours in crisis conditions. While that may have boosted productivity, that level of performance is most likely unsustainable. Deteriorated levels of employee well-being are also likely related to increased anxiety and stress resulting from multiple factors, such as the global health crisis, the economic crisis, and the lack of childcare,” said Robin Erickson, PhD, report co-author and Principal Researcher at The Conference Board. “As some of these situations are resolved or stabilized and organizations make long-term decisions about a future with more remote work, they will need to continuously monitor their employee experience and holistic well-being.”

As workplaces widely reopen, a “hybrid model”—part in office, part remote—will gain steam.

  • More than 70 percent of surveyed organizations plan to reopen their workplaces in the next six months (May through October). Most of that will take place in the fall, with 50 percent saying that they plan to open back up between August and October.
  • More than 40 percent of respondents expect their organization to sponsor a hybrid workforce where returning will be required for some and voluntary for others.

Media Contact

Joseph.Diblasi@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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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; May 2021

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Virtually Unchanged as Expectations Soften

NOTE: The May 25, 2021 release of The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®is the first based on survey data collected online. Data has been restated back to January 2021, the effective changeover month; no other data revision was necessary. Click here for a Technical Note with complete details.

New York, May 25, 2021…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® held steady in May, following a gain in April. The Index now stands at 117.2 (1985=100), down marginally from 117.5 in April. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—increased from 131.9 to 144.3. However, the Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—fell to 99.1 in May, down from 107.9 last month. 

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on an online sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Toluna, a technology company that delivers real-time consumer insights and market research through its innovative technology, expertise, and panel of over 36 million consumers. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was May 19.

“After rebounding sharply in recent months, U.S. consumer confidence was essentially unchanged in May,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved, suggesting economic growth remains robust in Q2. However, consumers’ short-term optimism retreated, prompted by expectations of decelerating growth and softening labor market conditions in the months ahead. Consumers were also less upbeat this month about their income prospects—a reflection, perhaps, of both rising inflation expectations and a waning of further government support until expanded Child Tax Credit payments begin reaching parents in July. Overall, consumers remain optimistic, and confidence should remain resilient in the short term, as vaccination rates climb, COVID-19 cases decline further, and the economy fully reopens.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in May. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” fell from 19.4 percent to 18.7 percent, but the proportion claiming business conditions are “bad” also declined, from 24.5 percent to 21.8 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” climbed from 36.3 percent to 46.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 14.7 percent to 12.2 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook waned in May. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 33.1 percent to 30.3 percent, while the proportion expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 12.1 percent to 14.8 percent. Consumers were also less upbeat about the job market. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell from 31.7 percent to 27.2 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 14.4 percent last month to 17.3 percent in May. Regarding short-term income prospects, 14.5 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, down from 17.4 percent in April. The proportion expecting their incomes to decrease also fell, from 10.5 percent in April to 9.3 percent in May.

Source: May 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8078

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National residential new home sales; April 2021

MONTHLY NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES, APRIL 2021 Release Number: CB21‐79 Notice of Revision:

With this release, seasonally adjusted estimates of housing units sold, housing units for sale, and the months’ supply of new housing have been revised back to January 2016. All revised estimates are available on our website. May 25, 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 April 2021:

NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES APRIL 2021

New Houses Sold1 : 863,000

New Houses For Sale2 : 316,000

Median Sales Price: $372,400

New Home Sales Sales of new single‐family houses in April 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 863,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

This is 5.9 percent (±11.2 percent)* below the revised March rate of 917,000, but is 48.3 percent (±24.5 percent) above the April 2020 estimate of 582,000.

Sales Price The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2021 was $372,400.  The average sales price was $435,400.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 316,000.  This represents a supply of 4.4 months at the current sales rate.

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Conference Board Employment Trends Index; April 2021

NEW YORK, May 10, 2021…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) significantly increased in April, after an increase in March. The index now stands at 105.44, up from 102.65 (an upward revision) in March. The index is currently up 45.7 percent from a year ago.

“Despite the disappointing April jobs report, the Employment Trends Index significantly increased in April, suggesting strong employment growth in the coming months,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “Most of the Index’s components are rapidly improving. However, the number of employees in the temporary help industry, usually a strong leading indicator of employment, declined in April. Rather than signaling a weak outlook for job growth, it may reflect some substitution in employment as employers hire more regular employees and end contracts with temporary workers. In the coming months we expect job creation to continue, but at a possibly slower pace than expected in light of the latest job numbers. A slew of indicators measuring recruiting difficulties, quit rates, and wage growth suggest the US economy is experiencing an historical, though probably temporary, labor shortage. Among the shortage’s many effects, it may put a damper on job growth.”

April’s increase was driven by positive contributions from six of eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, the components were: Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers; Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales; Industrial Production; and Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now.

The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. Turning points in the index indicate that a turning point in the number of jobs is about to occur in the coming months. The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight leading indicators of employment aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

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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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