Preliminary Results for February 2016
|Index of Consumer Sentiment||90.7||92.0||95.4||-1.4%||-4.9%|
|Current Economic Conditions||105.8||106.4||106.9||-0.6%||-1.0%|
|Index of Consumer Expectations||81.0||82.7||88.0||-2.1%||-8.0%|
Next data release: February 26, 2016 for Final February data at 10am ET
Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin
Consumer confidence continued its slow decline in early February, with its current level just below the average recorded during the 2nd half of 2015 (91.0). The small early February decline was due to a less favorable outlook for the economy during the year ahead, while longer term prospects for the national economy remained unchanged at favorable levels. While slowing economic growth was anticipated to slightly lessen the pace of job and wage gains, consumers viewed their personal financial situations somewhat more favorably due to the expectation that the inflation rate would remain low for a considerable period of time. Indeed, consumers anticipated the lowest long term inflation rate since this question was first asked in the late 1970's. No one would have guessed forty years ago, when high inflation was the chief cause of pessimism, that consumers would someday base their optimism on ultra-low inflation transforming meager wages into real income gains. The Fed's goal of pushing the inflation rate upward must be simultaneously accompanied by comparable gains in wages to prevent declines in real incomes and living standards. Overall, the data indicate that real consumption expenditures can be expected to advance by 2.7% in 2016.