U.S. consumer confidence rebounded strongly in March amid optimism over the labor market while house prices increased in January, hopeful signs that a recent sharp slowdown in economic activity was probably a blip.
A combination of harsh winter weather, a now-settled labor dispute at the country’s busy West Coast ports, softer global demand and a strong dollar dampened growth early in the first quarter.
The moderation in activity is a replay of early 2014, when an unseasonably cold winter caused a contraction in output, which was followed by a sharp rebound in growth.
“Rising confidence and home prices adds to the belief that the first-quarter slowdown will be temporary,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
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