Consumers appeared less optimistic about the future in early July, according to a survey from the University of Michigan released Friday.

The university’s consumer sentiment index fell to 51.1 from 50 in June, the lowest level in its history, as inflation expectations improved.

The current index rose to 57.1 from 53.8 but is still down 32.4% from a year ago.

“Consumer sentiment was flat, it’s about to go down,” said Joanne Hsu, director of research. “Personal wealth assessments continue to decline, reaching their lowest level since 2011.”

However, “inflation expectations have been stable or have improved slightly,” Hsu added. “The average rate of growth expected over the next year was 5.2%, a slight change from the previous five months. Average long-term growth expectations fell to 2.8%, below the 2.9-3.1% seen in the previous 11 months.

The reading is the first look at consumer sentiment for the month as the economy grapples with rising inflation and rising interest rates. Retail sales rose 1% in June, the government said earlier Friday, but that was largely the result of higher fuel prices even as spending at restaurants and bars rose, a sign that consumers are still willing to go out.

The Michigan study is being followed closely by economists and government officials, including those at the Federal Reserve. The central bank’s monetary policy committee will meet later this month and is expected to raise interest rates by 75 basis points or more to combat inflation.

Although consumers are showing signs of uncertainty, various studies have found that their negative feelings may outweigh financial concerns. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the abortion decision in Roe v. Wade, the revelations from a Congressional investigation into the January 6 riots at the Capitol and gun violence have left the American people reeling. they wonder what their country is like.

However, the economy is front and center for consumer concerns.

“As crude oil prices ease into the early part of July, sentiment is likely to improve, and fears will ease,” said Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank. “Even so, the US economy is on the brink of collapse, and any further shocks could be enough to bring it down.”



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