U.S. Consumer Confidence Index Unexpectedly Drops For Second Straight Month

A report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly decreased for the second consecutive month in February.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slid to 102.9 in February from a downwardly revised 106.0 in January.

The continued decrease surprised economists, who had expected the consumer confidence index to inch up to 108.5 from the 107.1 originally reported for the previous month.

“The decrease reflected large drops in confidence for households aged 35 to 54 and for households earning $35,000 or more,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director, Economics at The Conference Board.

The unexpected decline by the headline index came as the expectations index slumped to 69.7 in February from a downwardly revised 76.0 in January.

The Conference Board noted the expectations index has fallen well below 80, which often signals a recession within the next year.

“While 12-month inflation expectations improved—falling to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent last month—consumers may be showing early signs of pulling back spending in the face of high prices and rising interest rates,” said Ozyildirim.

He added, “Fewer consumers are planning to purchase homes or autos and they also appear to be scaling back plans to buy major appliances. Vacation intentions also declined in February.”

Meanwhile, the report said the present situation index rose to 152.8 in February from 151.1 in January, reflecting a more favorable view of the availability of jobs.

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