A closely-followed barometer of economic health, the survey measures consumers’ attitudes toward current economic conditions and future expectations. Both edged downward for the month, though Curtin said a less favorable outlook for the economy during the year ahead was balanced by steady longer term prospects.
Consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions ticked down slightly to 105.8, from 106.4 at the end of January. The index of future expectations dropped to 81 from 82.7.
February’s falling consumer sentiment came despite retail sales gaining momentum in January, spurred by a stronger labor market, Reuters reported from separate data.
“No one would have guessed forty years ago, when high inflation was the chief cause of pessimism, that consumers would someday base their optimism on ultra-low inflation transforming meager wages into real income gains,” Curtin said.