US Economy: Consumer Sentiment Down; Industrial Output Up

18 February 2003

More mixed signals for the US economy, as new figures show consumer confidence at its lowest ebb for nearly a decade but industrial output rising faster than expected.

Preliminary readings from the University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment stood at 79.2 this month, down from 82.4 in January and below forecasts of 81.2. The barometer has not fallen so low since September 1993.

Unsurprisingly, consumers are most concerned about prospects for the coming months. The component measuring assessments of the current situation stood at 95.3 (down from January’s 97.2), whereas the gauge of future conditions was far lower at 68.8 (down from 72.8).

Tempering such pessimism, however, were statistics from the Federal Reserve showing a 0.7% rise in industrial production – the sharpest increase since July last year. The uplift follows a 0.4% drop in December.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff