Despite hopes for additional fiscal stimulus, consumer confidence in the United States fell in early February, as morale was low among households with annual incomes below $ 75,000 in the economy.
The University of Michigan’s US Consumer Confidence Index fell to 76.2 points in the first half of the month from its final reading of 79 points in January.
Analysts consulted by Reuters expected a figure of 80.8 points.
“More surprising is that consumers viewed the outlook for the national economy less favorably in the early month of February, despite the passage of a larger stimulus bill,” the university said in a statement.
Furthermore, the measure of current economic conditions fell from 86.7 in January to a reading of 86.2 this month. The consumer expectations indicator fell from 74.0 points to 69.8 in January, a fall attributed entirely to low-income households with less than $ 75,000.
“Income families in the lower third reported significant failures in their current finances (…) with only 23% of them reporting lower financial recovery (percent) since 2014. In contrast, the upper third, 54 Among people with an income of%. Reported that their finances had improved, “said the University of Michigan.
For his part, university study chief economist Richard Curtin pointed out that “the entire loss of earnings is concentrated in the component of the index that measures consumer expectations for the next six months, which fell to 69.8 points. From 74. End of December ”.
On the other hand, unemployment remained high in January. The Federal Reserve (Fed) noted that the economy had 10 million fewer jobs in early 2021 compared to the same period last year.
“Families in the lower third of income have reported significant declines in their current financial situation,” the expert said.