CHICAGO, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The University of Michigan (UM) Surveys of Consumers reported on Friday that the Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 81.2 in July from June's 85.5, the lowest level since 76.8 was recorded in February.
The Expectations component fell to 79.0 in July from June's 83.5, but was well above last July's 65.9; the Current Conditions Index fell slightly to 84.5 in July, down from June's 88.6 and barely above last July's 82.8, according to the UM Surveys of Consumers on Friday.
The sentiment index among households with incomes above 100,000 U.S. dollars declined 8.1 percent, while sentiment among households with incomes below 100,000 dollars dipped only 1.1 percent, said UM economist Richard Curtin, director of the surveys.
Complaints about high prices for homes, vehicles and household durables rose to their highest levels in more than a half century. These complaints were given as justification for lowering their buying attitudes to their lowest level since 1982, Curtin said.
About 45 percent of consumers in July expected the economy to improve, while 21 percent expected it to worsen. When consumers were asked about the longer-term prospects for the economy, 38 percent thought continuous expansion less likely, while 50 percent expected another downturn sometime in the next five years.
Consumers anticipated that the inflation rate would remain at high levels throughout the year ahead, half of all consumers expected additional declines in unemployment within a year, and two-thirds anticipated interest rates would rise by mid-2022.
The risks that a higher inflation rate persists well into 2022 have grown due to the greater willingness of consumers to purchase due to their record savings and higher wages due to labor shortages, Curtin said.
UM Surveys of Consumers is a rotating panel survey based on a nationally representative sample that gives each household in the coterminous U.S. an equal probability of being selected. Interviews are conducted throughout the month by telephone.