American households are feeling extremely rotten about economic conditions and their prospects, survey data released Friday show.
The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment plunged 9.4 percent in the early weeks of May, falling from a score of 65.2 to 59.1. That kind of plunge is rare outside of a catastrophe or a recession. It is the lowest reading since summer of 2011 when the country was locked in a battle over the debt ceiling and Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States.
The index that tracks consumer assessments of current economic conditions dropped by 8.4 percent to 63.6 percent. The index that tracks expectations for future conditions crashed 9.9 percent to 56.3, a severe decline in economic hope.
“These declines were broad based–for current economic conditions as well as consumer expectations, and visible across income, age, education, geography, and political affiliation–continuing the general downward trend in sentiment over the past year,” said Joanne Hsu, the new director of the survey.
Hsu replaced longtime consumer sentiment guru Richard Curtin as the director of the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers program at the end of April. Curtin had run the survey and provided official analysis sinc... (Read more)
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