Consumer sentiment hits lowest point since 2011

Jonathan Sweet
March 15, 2013
Filed under News

A day after one measure of consumer confidence hit an 11-month high, another is reporting that consumers haven’t been this pessimistic in more than a year.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of consumer sentiment dropped to 71.8 from 77.6 in February, well below expectations and the lowest mark since December 2011.

That was a stark contrast to this week’s Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, which was up for the sixth-straight week to its highest level since April 2012.

The $85 billion sequestration cuts and other government action (or inaction) seemed to be the biggest culprit in the sentiment plunge. A record 34 percent of respondents cited government as a negative factor.

Respondents were especially pessimistic about the future, with only percent (a record low) saying they expect their personal financial situation to improve this year. The future expectations portion of the index fell from 70.2 to 61.7, the lowest level since November 2011.

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