The University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for March, released late last week, fell from a final February reading of 91.7 to 90.0, wrote Wall Street Journal staffer Jeffrey Sparshott. Economists surveyed by the paper predicted the February index would rise to 92.2.
The index reached a postrecession high of 98.1 in January 2015, but signs of slower economic growth in the U.S., financial market volatility and turmoil abroad have weighed on confidence. Still, the overall index remains consistent with other indicators that show the economy inching ahead. Indeed, March’s measure remained above the 87.2 reading from September.
“While consumers do not anticipate a recession, they no longer expect the economy to outperform the 2.4% rate of economic growth recorded in the past two years,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.