NEW YORK – March 31, 2015 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved in March after a slight February decline and now stands at 101.3, up from 98.8.

The Expectations Index – the component that measures attitudes about the economy six months from now – increased from 90.0 last month to 96.0 in March. The Present Situation Index, however, decreased from 112.1 in February to 109.1.

"An improved short-term outlook for both employment and income prospects drove this month's increase," says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. However, "consumers were less upbeat about business conditions. Consumers' assessment of current conditions declined for the second consecutive month, suggesting that growth may have softened in (the first quarter of 2015), and doesn't appear to be gaining any significant momentum heading into the spring months."

Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions
The percentage saying business conditions are "good" was unchanged at 26.7 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" increased from 16.7 percent to 19.4 percent.

Consumers were mixed in their assessment of the job market. The proportion stating jobs are "plentiful" edged up from 20.3 percent to 20.6 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" also edged up from 25.1 percent to 25.4 percent.