The consumer sentiment index fell modestly in early March, but the dip was entirely due to reduced expectations for the future.
The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan overall index of consumer sentiment fell to 79.9 in March, down from the 81.6 final reading in February. That was below analyst expectations for a reading of 82 and is now the lowest level measured for that index since November.
The index of consumer expectations for future growth fell to 69.4 in March, down from 72.7, which is also its lowest level since November.
Still, somehow the assessment of current economic conditions brightened a bit, ticking up to 96.1 from 95.4 in February. There was also a statically slight improvement in current personal finances.
“Overall, consumers continued to demonstrate their resilience in the face of a long and harsh winter, and have not recognized any implications for the domestic economy from the Russian incursion into Ukraine,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
In the Consumer sentiment index on the future contained notable contradictions, as well. Respondents expected the highest rate of annual income gains since November 2008, while nearly half expected their living standards to fall in the coming year.
Further, consumers thought the pace of gains in their home’s value would slow in the coming year, even though the smallest percentage of homeowners reported losses in the value of their home since the beginning of 2007.