U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index For March Unexpectedly Upwardly Revised


The University of Michigan released revised data on Thursday showing an unexpected improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of March.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for March was upwardly revised to 79.4 from the preliminary reading of 76.5. Economists had expected the reading to be unrevised.

With the unexpected upward revision, the consumer sentiment index for March is now above the final February reading of 76.9. The index also reached its highest level since hitting 81.2 in July 2021.

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The current economic conditions index climbed to 82.5 in March from 79.4 in February, while the index of consumer expectations rose to 77.4 in March from 75.2 in February.

“Overall, sentiment is essentially unchanged throughout the first quarter of 2024, remaining just shy of the midpoint between the pre-pandemic level of sentiment and the historic trough from June 2022,” said Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.

“This stability reflects a perception among consumers that the economy has been holding steady in its current state,” she added. “As the election season progresses and debates over economic policy become more salient for consumers, their outlook for the economy could become more volatile in the months ahead.”

Meanwhile, the report said year-ahead inflation expectations edged down to 2.9 percent in March from 3.0 percent in February, remaining within the 2.3-3.0 percent range seen in 2018 and 2019 for the third straight month.

Long-run inflation expectations also slipped to 2.8 percent in March from 2.9 percent in February but remain remain modestly elevated relative compared to the 2.2-2.6 percent range seen in the two years pre-pandemic.

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