According to a new reading on sentiment, American consumers are still feeling quite bleak about the country’s economic future.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index indicates that sentiment is at a six-month low of 76.8 from a reading of 79 just last month.
The index, however, did post a slight tick up in the final weeks of February to 76.8 from 76.2 earlier in the month.
Nonetheless, the reading is significantly lower than the level of 101 reached on the index just one year ago in 2020. This was before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Consumers are clearly still showing fear about the future. With the virus still spreading, deaths in the U.S. topping 500,000, and a new variant in the NorthEast that is believed to not respond to vaccines, many U.S. consumers are afraid to commit to a better economic future. This has the effect of acting as a kind of suppression on economic growth.
Nonetheless, there are bright spots with the stock market increasingly powering higher and the Fed Reserve chief indicating that he is poised to continue low interest rates for the foreseeable future.