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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves Sharply in Late-March
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2013

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment for March improved for the full month to 78.6 (3.1% y/y) from its mid-month reading of 71.8. The figure was up versus 77.6 in February and compared to the consensus forecast for a decline 72.6. It remained down, however, versus the November high of 82.7. During the last ten years, there has been a 61% correlation between the level of sentiment and the three-month change in real personal consumption expenditures.

Last month's sentiment figure reflected improvement in the consumer expectations reading to 70.8 (+1.4%) which was up slightly m/m but up sharply from the mid-month figure of 61.7. The present situations reading also rose m/m to 90.7 (5.5% y/y) and compared to the mid-March reading of 87.5.

The Reuters/University of Michigan survey data are not seasonally adjusted. The readings are based on telephone interviews with over 300 households. Data can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is from Action Economics and can be found in Haver's AS1REPNA database.

University of Michigan (Q1'66 = 100)  Mar Feb Jan Mar '12 2012 2011 2010
Consumer Sentiment 78.6 77.6  73.8 76.2 76.5 67.3 71.8
 Current Economic Conditions 90.7 89.0 85.0 86.0 85.6 79.1 80.9
 Consumer Expectations 70.8 70.2 66.6 69.8 70.7 59.8 66.0
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