Consumer Sentiment Slips A Bit, Still Up From Last Year

In case you hadn’t noticed, these aren’t the brightest economic times in U.S. history. Perhaps you were distracted by the guys repossessing your car. And a new Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment shows that y’all aren’t expecting the USS Recession to turn around anytime in the immediate future.

The survey’s preliminary index of sentiment for February was 73.7, a small slip from 74.4 in late January. One bright spot: A year ago that index was a lowly 56.3.

The middling number is a combination of improved economic conditions — the best since March 2008 — but sagging expectations from consumers whose rose-tinted glasses appear to be on the fritz.

“Few consumers anticipated any significant declines in the jobless rate any time soon, and the majority expected recurrent economic weaknesses over the next several years,” Richard Curtin, director of the surveys, said in a statement.

“The cumulative financial strain during the past few years, coupled with the fact that the majority still expect no gains in their incomes, work hours or home values in the year ahead, has meant that consumers have remained extremely cautious spenders.”

So is this a case of things actually getting better, but people just being too beat-down and wary to believe it?

Consumer Sentiment Slips In Early February [Reuters]