Consumer Sentiment Fell Slightly in March

Consumer sentiment fell to 91.0 in March, down 0.7 points from the previous month, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.

“Despite the recent small monthly variations, the overall level of confidence has remained largely unchanged during the past nine months,” said Richard Curtin, Chief Economist of UM Surveys of Consumers. “This stability reflected more positive personal finances being offset by less favorable prospects for the economy. Indeed, consumers were more optimistic about their inflation-adjusted income expectations than any time since 2007.”

The Current Economic Conditions Index fell 1.2 points to 105.6 in March, but was 1.6 points higher than it was a year ago. The Index of Consumer Expectations fell 0.4 points to 81.5.

“Consumers anticipated that the slower pace of economic growth will more than likely put an end to further declines in the unemployment rate,” says Curtin. “What was surprising was that the expectations of higher gas prices and higher unemployment have not caused an increase in uncertainty about personal financial prospects.”