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Consumer Sentiment:  Higher Income Households Grow Concerned

March 29, 2018
Bottom Line: Consumer sentiment was revised modestly lower in this final reading for March. While the gain early in the month was driven by lower income households, this slight decline was attributed to wealthier households' concerns about tariffs. The survey noted: Households with incomes in the top third cited significantly greater concerns with government economic policies than last month, especially trade policies, with net references falling from +31 to just +1, offsetting their positive reactions to tax policies. Overall, the level of sentiment remains very strong, and normally this would suggest an uptick in consumption. So far, though, that has not been seen.

Consumer Sentiment was REVISED DOWN by 0.6 points in late March to 101.4%, compared with market expectations for no change to 102.0%.

Sentiment has improved by 5.5 points over the past 3 months. With this month's slight increase, compared to February's final level of 99.7%, sentiment is 4.6% ABOVE its year ago level.

Current Conditions were REVISED DOWN by 1.6 points to 121.2%. Current conditions are now 7.1% ABOVE their year ago level.

Consumer Expectations were REVISED UP by 0.2 points to 88.8%. Despite this month's slight decline, compared to February's final level of 90.0%, expectations are 2.7% ABOVE their year ago level.