ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Consumer sentiment declined more than six points for the month of June, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final index.
The sentiment index was 73.2 in June 2012, down from 79.3 in May, but remaining slightly ahead of the 71.5 in last June's survey. The survey showed that most of the overall decline reflected how consumers viewed future prospects for the national economy. The survey found that the percent of upper-income households that expected improve finances in the year ahead fell to 24% in June from 37% in May. On the other hand, lower-income households benefitted to a greater degree from the recent declines in gas prices, which completely offset their less favorable outlook for the economy.
"The overall June decline would normally be consistent with a somewhat slower spending growth rate," Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers chief economist Richard Curtin said. "The sharp declines among upper income households; however, may have a greater impact on the economy since their spending accounts for a large share of the total. The June loss among higher income households was associated with a large drop in favorable ratings of economic policies and a growing recognition that federal policies to bridge the fiscal cliff will not even be discussed until the very last minute. This meant that they wanted to adopt more cautious spending plans now to protect their finances from potentially adverse developments."