Retreat

Both the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined in February after soaring to cyclical highs in January. The Index of Consumer Sentiment Index decreased to 95.4 in February from 98.1 in January, but was up from 81.6 during February 2014. The Consumer Confidence Index decreased to 96.4 in February from 103.8 in January. The chart displays three month moving averages.

UM & CB three month moving average Jan 2015

The decrease reported by the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers was attributed to harsh winter weather. On a more positive note, while consumers under age 45 expected the largest wage gains, it was households with incomes in the bottom third who reported the largest month-to-month increase.

The Conference Board reported that the short-term outlook was considerably less positive in February with fewer consumers (16.1%) expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months and more (8.7%) expecting conditions to worsen.  The share of consumers expecting income growth also declined from 19.5% in January to 15.1% in February.



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