US Consumer Sentiment Revised Down In March

The final reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the United States fell to 96.9 in March of 2017 from a preliminary reading of 97.6 but was higher than 96.3 in February. Both current conditions and futures expectations were revised slightly down.

The gauge of future expectations declined slightly to 86.5 from a preliminary of 86.7 but was unchanged from the previous month. The barometer for current economic conditions also fell to 113.2 from a preliminary of 114.5 but was higher than 111.5 in February.

Americans expect the inflation rate to be 2.5 percent next year, up from 2.4 percent earlier reported but below 2.8 percent in February. Over the next 5 years, inflation is expected to be 2.4 percent, higher than 2.2 percent in the preliminary estimate but lower than 2.5 percent in February.

The continued strength in consumer sentiment has been due to optimistic views on three critical components: higher incomes and wealth, more favorable job prospects, and low inflation expectations. All of these factors, however, have been influenced by partisanship. Democrats expect an imminent recession, higher unemployment, lower income gains, and more rapid inflation, while Republicans anticipate a new era of robust growth in incomes, job prospects, and lower inflation. It is a rare situation that combines increasing optimism, which promotes spending, and rising uncertainty which makes consumers more cautious spenders. 

University of Michigan | Joana Taborda |
3/31/2017 2:10:44 PM