American consumers were feeling less confident this month amid continued volatility in the financial markets.
The Conference Board, a business research group, says its consumer confidence index fell to 124.1 in March from 131.4 in February.
The index, covering through 14 March measures consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next 6 months. Both declined in March.
The index had climbed in February amid a rebound in the stock market after Christmas and an end to the partial shutdown of the federal government, as well as signs of progress toward ending the trade dispute between the US and China.
Economists pay close attention to the Conference Board index because consumer spending accounts for 72% of US economic activity.
“Consumers remain confident that the economy will continue expanding in the near term,” said the Conference Board’s senior director of economic indicators. “However, the overall trend in confidence has been softening since last summer, pointing to a moderation in economic growth.”