Jeffry Bartash


U.S. consumer confidence index climbs to 109.7 from 90.4


The numbers: Consumer confidence surged in March to a one-year high as more Americans got vaccinated and the government doled out $1,400 stimulus checks in a boost to the economy.

The index of consumer confidence shot up to 109.7 this month from a revised 90.4 in February, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

Economists polled by Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal had forecast a smaller increase to 96.8.

The index stood close to a 20-year high of 132.6 in February of 2020 shortly before the coronavirus pandemic exploded in the U.S.

What happened: Part of the survey that tracks how consumers feel about the economy right now also rose to the highest level since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The so-called present situation index jumped to 110 from 89.6, though it’s still only about two-thirds as high as it was before the pandemic started. The government sent out $1,400 stimulus payments to most families this month and extended emergency unemployment benefits. The pace of vaccinations has also accelerated sharply across most of the country. The combination of some extra cash and more financial security is encouraging Americans to spend more.