Confirming what was seen in this item earlier in the week via the latest weekly economic confidence survey from Gallup, the mood of the American consumer appears to be fading as a harsh winter gives way to spring, at least according to the latest reading on consumer sentiment from Reuters and the University of Michigan.
In the first of two readings for March, the index fell from 81.6 in February to 79.9 this month, its lowest level in almost a year, save for the most recent episode of the government shooting itself in the foot again last fall via a partial shutdown.
As was the case for the Gallup survey, the overall decline was driven by reduced expectations about the future as this component dropped from 72.7 to 69.4, its lowest level since November. The current conditions component actually rose, from 95.4 to 96.1, as Americans were more confident about their personal finances.
In a testament to the Federal Reserve’s ongoing effort to inflate asset prices, the fewest share of homeowners since 2007 said their homes had lost value over the last year, though respondents said home price gains would slow in the year ahead.
Fear of inflation is still nowhere to be seen as the one-year outlook puts prices 3.2 percent higher while inflation five years from now is seen coming in at a rate of just 2.9 percent.