Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Consumer Sentiment
According to the latest release from the University of Michigan, its Index of Consumer Sentiment was revised down in late March, from a level of 68.2 to 67.5. The new level reflects a full 10-point decline from February’s level of 77.5. The release noted that the quick erosion in confidence was largely due to rising gas prices and was “concentrated among lower-income households.” Also, the release noted that the fewest consumers on record expected nominal income increases over the year to come. Much of the overall decline in confidence came as the expectations component fell from a level of 71.6 in February to 57.9 in March, while the current conditions component slipped down 4.4 points to 82.5 during the month. True to its historic correlations, as food and energy prices rise, median one-year-ahead inflation expectations jumped up, too—from 3.4 percent to 4.6 percent in March. Still, these levels are below the recent peak of 5.2 percent set during the mid-2008 oil price shock. Longer-term expectations (which were unchanged in the March revision) edged up from 2.9 percent in February to 3.2 percent in March, and remained 0.2 percentage point below their mid-2008 levels. As longer-term expectations remained somewhat anchored, this may be tentative evidence that consumers do not see recent relative prices changes as persistent increases in inflation.