February 26, 2010 / 2:57 PM / in 8 years

Consumer sentiment weakens in February

<p>A woman and a sales clerk carry a large screen television to a waiting taxi in New York, February 18, 2010. REUTERS/Natalie Behring</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer sentiment was weaker in February, as Americans grew more impatient with the government’s gridlock over efforts to stimulate jobs, a survey released on Friday showed.

While not fearful of another spike in layoffs, consumers have turned more gloomy about their job and income prospects, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers.

“Consumers have been getting more impatient with the slow progress of the stimulus program, and confidence in the Obama administration’s economic policies has begun to wane,” Richard Curtin, director of the surveys, said in a statement.

The survey’s overall index of consumer sentiment was at 73.6 in February, down from 74.4 in January and below the 74.0 forecast by analysts polled by Reuters. The preliminary February reading was 73.7.

The gauge of current economic conditions was at 81.8 for the month, up from January’s reading of 81.1. This compares with 84.1 in the preliminary figures and 82.0 predicted by analysts.

The survey’s barometer of consumer expectations weakened to 68.4 in February from 70.1 in January. It fell short of the 69.9 forecast by analyst but it did improve from the preliminary figure of 66.9.

The index of consumers’ 12-month economic outlook fell to 80 from 84 in January, but it was up from 79 in early February.

The survey’s 1-year inflation expectations eased to 2.7 percent in February from 2.8 in January, while the five-to-10-year inflation measure slipped to 2.7 from 2.9 a month ago.

Reporting by Richard Leong and Caroline Valetkevitch, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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