The Consumer Sentiment Index surveys consumers monthly using about 50 questions that track different aspects of their attitudes and expectations around personal finances, business conditions, and buying conditions. In addition to this index, the group also publishes the Index of Consumer Expectations and the Index of Current Economic Conditions.
Published twice a month – one Preliminary and one Final reading – this is an important indicator to watch as consumer attitudes greatly impact consumer spending which makes up over 70% of GDP.
The March Preliminary reading for the Consumer Sentiment Index came in at 63.4, down from the February final reading and its first decline in four months. The Preliminary survey was done before the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, and these events are likely to have a negative impact on sentiment. According to the latest report, all components of the index fell evenly, mostly due to continued high prices and volatile inflation expectations.