Consumer confidence was relatively strong in 2015, but it took a downward turn toward the end of last year that has carried into 2016. This resulted in a decrease of more than 5 percent in the consumer confidence index in the first quarter of 2016.
“Consumers’ short-term outlook grew more pessimistic, with consumers expressing greater apprehension about business conditions, their personal financial situation, and to a lesser degree, labor market prospects,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.
In March 2016, the Purchasing Managers’ Index was above 50 for the first time since September, meaning the manufacturing industry is expanding again. Prior to this, the index had posted readings below 50, which were seen between October 2015 and February 2016.