WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment improved in early March to its strongest in a year as COVID-19 cases declined and the pace of vaccinations accelerated, a survey showed on Friday.
The University of Michigan said its preliminary consumer sentiment index rose to 83.0 in the first half of this month from a final reading of 76.8 in February. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 78.5.
The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions jumped to a reading of 91.5 from 86.2 in February. Its measure of consumer expectations rose to 77.5 from 70.7.
The survey’s one-year inflation expectation decreased to 3.1% from 3.3%, while the survey’s five-to-10-year inflation outlook was at unchanged at 2.7%.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)