Consumer Sentiment Reaches Highest Level since 2004

Consumer Sentiment rose 1.7 points in March to 101.4, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. Last month’s figure is 4.6% above the March 2017 index. This month’s reading was the highest since 2004.

The Current Economic Conditions Index surged 5.5 points to 109.2. The reading was 7.1% above the March 2017 estimate and the highest in the index’s history. The Consumer Expectations Index fell 1.3 point to 84.8, however it was 2.7% higher than a year ago.

“Consumer sentiment at month’s end was marginally below the mid-month reading due to uncertainty about the impact of the proposed trade tariffs. The Sentiment Index, however, still reached the highest level since 2004, and the Current Conditions Index set a new all-time peak,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist of UM Surveys of Consumers. “Importantly, all of the March gain in the Sentiment Index was among households with incomes in the bottom third (+14.1); those in the middle third were unchanged, while the Index fell among households in the top third (-5.6). Households with incomes in the top third cited significantly greater concerns with government economic policies than last month, especially trade policies, with net references falling from +31 to just +1, offsetting their positive reactions to tax policies.”

Read the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release.

About Stephen Newton

Stephen Newton is an economic research associate at ABA.
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