WASHINGTON (2/3/14)--The bad news is that the bad news is a little bit worse than expected. A consumer confidence index slipped just a bit more in January than was anticipated.
According to the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Survey, consumer sentiment hit a final reading of 81.2, down from 82.5 in December, reflecting diminishing consumer optimism over their current financial situations and the overall outlook.
Harsh weather and a bad stock market climate may have to take a substantial bit of the blame for consumers losing heart (Thompson Reuters Jan. 31). December saw both stock market declines and winter storms responsible for preventing the most people from getting to work recorded since the December 1977. Those reduced work hours could be cutting into paychecks and eroding financial confidence.
Another factor dimming a sunshiny outlook for some: the elimination of federal emergency unemployment benefits may where roughly 1.6 million people lost benefits between December and January.