According to a University of Michigan (preliminary) Sentiment Index (MSI), American consumer confidence fell in the beginning of February because of a rise in gas prices. Gas prices had plummeted to a six-year-low at the end of January, but as prices started to rise again, Americans reflected a gloomier view of the labor market. The jobless rate rose in February from 5.6% to 5.7% because over one million Americans returned to looking for work
The University of Michigan (preliminary) Sentiment Index (MSI) had reached 98.1 at the end of January, but in just two weeks that number declined to 93.6. Respondents in the poll expressed less enthusiasm for buying expensive products.
Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan Survey of Consumers, explained, “Low gas prices have especially helped lower-income households, although consumers now widely anticipate that gas prices will edge upward during the year ahead. “
Americans were less sanguine about the future than they been just two weeks earlier; the survey’s index of expectations 6 months fell from 91 in January to 87.5 when the poll was taken. The marker used for measuring Americans’ perspective in their own financial situations, called the gauge of current conditions, fell from 109.3 in January to 103.1 in February.
The poll showed Americans expected higher inflation than they had in January.