March 3, 2021

Survey Says Consumers Remain Uneasy About the Future

Consumer sentiment in the United States rose in early September, but Americans remained gloomy about the future with their expectations for the economy falling to the lowest level since 1980.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s survey showed consumer sentiment edged up to 57.8 from 55.7 in August, topping economists’ forecasts after reaching the lowest level in nearly three years last month.

Even so, the expectations gauge in the preliminary survey inched lower, and three out of four consumers expected bad times for the economy in the year ahead.

“The consumer is still very frustrated with virtually everything — 9 percent unemployment, still very tepid jobs creation and heightened job destruction,” Lindsey M. Piegza, economist at FTN Financial in New York, said.

The survey’s index of consumer expectations dipped to 47.0 from 47.4, hitting the lowest level since May 1980. The economic outlook for the next 12 months fell to 38 from 40, the lowest since February 2009 when the world economy was gripped by the credit crisis.

Only 17 percent of those surveyed expected their finances to improve, the lowest rate ever recorded.

“Consumers are going to be very hesitant to spend with such negative views of their personal finances,” the survey director, Richard Curtin, said.

Still, the survey’s barometer of current economic conditions rose to 74.5 from 68.7, better than a forecast of 68.0.

“It was certainly nice to see the current conditions index rise again, but all we did was retake some ground to where we were in July,” said Tom Porcelli, senior United States economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

Investors are now turning their attention to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting. The central bank is expected to introduce new measures to bolster growth, though analysts expect the Fed will be able to take only modest steps.

The survey’s one-year inflation expectation rose to 3.7 percent from 3.5 percent, while the survey’s five- to 10-year inflation outlook rose to 3 percent from 2.9 percent.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=9c0f477b12c810d64d739eac9d8c1672

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