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HomeNewsEconomySurveys of Consumers: Consumer Sentiment Falls in Preliminary March Reading

Surveys of Consumers: Consumer Sentiment Falls in Preliminary March Reading


A shopper organizes his cash before paying for merchandise at a Best Buy Co. store in Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty)

The closely-watched Surveys of Consumers consumer sentiment gauge from the University of Michigan fell to 90.0 in a preliminary March reading from a final February reading of 91.7. Economists expected the gauge to rise to 92.2.

“Consumer confidence eased in early March due to increased concerns about prospects for the economy as well as the expectation that gas prices would inch upward during the year ahead,” Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin said. “All of the decline during the past year has been in the Expectations Index, which was due to a weakening outlook for the pace of growth in the national economy.”

“While consumers do not anticipate a recession, they no longer expect the economy to outperform the 2.4% rate of economic growth recorded in the past two years,” he added. “In contrast, personal financial expectations remained strong in early March, comparable to the favorable levels recorded nearly a decade ago.”

Preliminary Consumer Sentiment for March 2016

Mar Feb Mar M-M Y-Y
2016 2016 2015 Change Change
Index of Consumer Sentiment 90.0 91.7 93.0 -1.9% -3.2%
Current Economic Conditions 105.6 106.8 105.0 -1.1% +0.6%
Index of Consumer Expectations 80.0 81.9 85.3 -2.3% -6.2%
Next data release: April 01, 2016 for Final March data at 10am ET
“Overall, it would appear that consumers have accommodated slower economic growth as well as rising gas prices without an accompanying rise in uncertainty about their own personal financial situation,” Curtain added. “The most important element supporting consumers’ optimism is their conviction that the slower pace of economic growth will not have an appreciable impact on maintaining the jobless rate at about its current low level. The data are still consistent with a 2.7% rate of growth in personal consumption expenditures during 2016.”
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PPD Business, the economy-reporting arm of People's Pundit Daily, is "making sense of current events." We are a no-holds barred, news reporting pundit of, by, and for the people.

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