U.S. consumer confidence rose slightly in March but remained weak overall due to worries about job losses, a moribund housing sector and ailing banks, a survey released Tuesday said.
Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence said their IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index rose to 45.3 in March from 44.6 in February. "Confidence remains weak as Americans look past the current surge in spending on bailouts and stimulus and fret about how it will affect the economy down the road," said Terry Jones, associate editor of Investor's Business Daily.
"Even though respondents were moderately more confident with their own finances, a positive for the economy, they appear deeply worried about trends in the markets, the ailing banking and housing sectors, and jobs."
The index is 2.4 points above its 12-month average of 42.9 and just 0.9 point above the reading of 44.4 in December 2007, when the economy entered recession.
Index readings below 50 indicate pessimism.
The IBD/TIPP surveys more than 900 adults, generally in the first week of the month.