Consumer sentiment survey followed by the Fed shows inflation expectations ease slightly

Finance

A shopper inside a women’s clothing store in the East Village neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.
Kathryn Gamble | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A widely followed consumer sentiment survey released Friday showed inflation expectations have eased slightly.

The University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers said consumers expect inflation to rise at a 5.3% annualized rate as of the end of June. That’s down from a preliminary reading released earlier this month, which showed inflations was expected by consumers to increase at a 5.4% clip.

Still, Surveys of Consumers director Joanne Hsu said consumers “also expressed the highest level of uncertainty over long-run inflation since 1991, continuing a sharp increase that began in 2021.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said earlier this moth an uptick in consumer inflation expectations helped sway the central bank to raise rates by 75 basis points, or 0.75 percentage point. That’s a bigger rate hike than many anticipated heading into the announcement.

Meanwhile, overall consumer sentiment fell to a record low, hitting 50. That’s 14.4% below a May reading of 58.4 and 41.5% from a year-earlier period.

“Consumers across income, age, education, geographic region, political affiliation, stockholding and homeownership status all posted large declines,” Hsu said.

“About 79% of consumers expected bad times in the year ahead for business conditions, the highest since 2009. Inflation continued to be of paramount concern to consumers; 47% of consumers blamed inflation for eroding their living standards, just one point shy of the all-time high last reached during the Great Recession,” Hsu added.

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