Consumer sentiment increases in February

Consumer Sentiment was 66.4 in February, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. February’s figure was 1.5 points above Januarys reading and is 3.6 points above the February 2022 index. The Current Economic Conditions Index rose 4.2 points from the previous month to 72.6 and is 4.4 points above the February 2022 index. The Consumer Expectations Index decreased by 0.4 points to 62.3 and is 2.9 points higher from a year ago.

“Consumer sentiment was essentially unchanged at 1.5 index points above January. Recent developments in the economy, both positive and negative, have led to mixed attitudes among consumers with little net change in February. After three consecutive months of increases, sentiment is now 6% above a year ago but still 14% below two years ago, prior to the current inflationary episode. Overall, high prices continue to weigh on consumers despite the recent moderation in inflation, and sentiment remains more than 22% below its historical average since 1978. Combined with concerns over rising unemployment on the horizon, consumers are poised to exercise greater caution with their spending in the months ahead.”

“Year-ahead inflation expectations rebounded to 4.2% this month, from 3.9% in January and 4.4% in December. Long-run inflation expectations remained at 2.9% for the third straight month and stayed within the narrow 2.9-3.1% range for 18 of the last 19 months. Uncertainty over short-run inflation expectations ticked up recently and continues to be notably elevated (see chart, black solid line), indicating the potential for continued volatility in expected year-ahead inflation. In contrast, uncertainty over long-run inflation receded in recent months, though the uncertainty stands well above averages over the last 20 years” said Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.

Read the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release.