Higher-income consumers are feeling better about the economy, and their optimism is helping lift the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index.
The index, which tracks consumers' expectations of business and labor market conditions, increased slightly to 104.2 in March, up from 103.4 the month before.
"Driven by an uptick in expectations, consumer confidence improved somewhat in March, but remains below the average level seen in 2022 (104.5)," said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economics at The Conference Board, in a press release. "The gain reflects an improved outlook for consumers under 55 years of age and for households earning $50,000 and over."
He added that while consumers are more optimistic about the near future, they are less sure about the current economy.
"The share of consumers saying jobs are 'plentiful' fell, while the share of those saying jobs are 'not so plentiful' rose," Ozyildirim said.
The index showed that consumers expect to spend less on discretionary purchases, such as entertainment and dining out, and more on less discretionary purchases, such as health care and home repairs.