Consumer confidence in the United States plummeted in early February as economic sentiment remained low among families with annual incomes below $ 75,000, despite expectations of additional fiscal stimulus.
The US University of Michigan consumer confidence index fell to 76.2 in the first half of the month, from a final reading of 79 in January.
Analysts consulted by Reuters expected the figure to be 80.8.
“What was most surprising was the discovery that consumers, despite the expected approval of a massive stimulus bill, viewed the national economic outlook less favorably in early February than last month,” the university said in a statement.
The gauge of current economic conditions also decreased to a reading of 86.2 this month from 86.7 in January. The Consumer Expectations Index fell to 69.8 from 74.0 in January, a decline fully attributable to households with incomes below $ 75,000.
“Households with incomes in the bottom third reported significant setbacks in their current financial resources (…) among which only 23% reported financial improvement, (percentage) less since 2014. In contrast, 54% of income earners in one third reported Alawi University of Michigan said that their financial situation has improved.
For his part, Richard Curtin, chief economist in charge of the university study, said that “the entire loss of profits is concentrated in the component of the index that measures consumer expectations for the next six months, which fell to 69.8 points. End of December “.
On the other hand, unemployment remained at high levels in January. The Federal Reserve indicated that the economy had 10 million fewer jobs in early 2021 compared to the same period last year.
“Households in the bottom third of income recorded a significant decline in their current financial position,” the expert added.