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Financial News: U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves More Than Initially Estim

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves More Than Initially Estimated In March

03/29/2019 - 10:40:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved by more than initially estimated in the month of March, according to a report released by the University of Michigan on Friday.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for March was upwardly revised to 98.4 from the preliminary reading of 97.8.

Economists had expected the index to be unrevised at 97.8, which would have still been above the final February reading of 93.8.

The increase by the index came as more positive assessments from lower income households more than offset a drop in sentiment among households with incomes in the top third.

"Middle and lower income households more frequently reported income gains than last month, although income gains were still widespread among upper income households," said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.

"Rising incomes were accompanied by lower expected year-ahead inflation rates, resulting in more favorable real income expectations," he added. "Moreover, all income groups voiced more favorable growth prospects for the overall economy."

The report said the current economic conditions index jumped to 113.3 in March from 108.5 in February, while the index of consumer expectations climbed to 88.8 from 84.4.

On the inflation front, one-year inflation expectations edged down to 2.5 percent in March from 2.6 percent in February but five-year inflation expectations rose to 2.5 percent from 2.3 percent.

"Overall, the data do not indicate an emerging recession but point toward slightly lower unit sales of vehicles and homes during the year ahead," Curtin said.

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