The numbers: A survey of consumer sentiment fell in November to 56.8 and remained depressed, reflecting worries about high inflation and the rising odds of recession.
The final reading in the sentiment poll marked a sizable increase from the initial 54.7 result earlier in the month, the the University of Michigan reported. But it was down from 59.9 in October.
Most of the survey was compiled after the recent U.S. elections, suggesting the split outcome eased the anxiety of some Americans.
Key details: A gauge that measures what consumers think about their own financial situation and the current health of the economy totaled 58.8 last month. One year ago, the index stood much higher at 73.6.
Another measure that asks about expectations for the next six months registered 55.6. It was also well below year-ago levels.
Americans’ view of inflation didn’t change much. They expect the inflation rate in the next year to average about 4.9%. In the longer run, consumers see inflation falling toward 3%.
Top Federal Reserve officials pay close attention to inflation expectations because it can be a harbinger of future price trends.
The current 12-month rate of inflation is 7.7%, based on the consumer price index.
Big picture: Consumer sentiment improved in the early fall after gasoline prices sank from record highs, but prices are no longer falling. At the same time, the odds of recession have risen as the Fed jacks up interest rates to try to tame high inflation.
High prices and slower economic growth are likely to keep Americans on edge.
Looking ahead: “Along with the ongoing impact of inflation, consumer attitudes have also been weighed down by rising borrowing costs, declining asset values, and weakening labor market expectations,” said survey director Joanne Hsu.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
rose in Wednesday trades.