Consumer Sentiment increased 0.6 points in March to 96.9, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.
The Current Economic Conditions Index rose 1.7 points to 113.2, while the Consumer Expectations Index held at 86.5.
“The continued strength in consumer sentiment has been due to optimistic views on three critical components: higher incomes and wealth, more favorable job prospects, and low inflation expectations,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist of UM Surveys of Consumers. “All of these factors, however, have been influenced by partisanship. Democrats expect an imminent recession, higher unemployment, lower income gains, and more rapid inflation, while Republicans anticipate a new era of robust growth in incomes, job prospects, and lower inflation. It is a rare situation that combines increasing optimism, which promotes spending, and rising uncertainty which makes consumers more cautious spenders.”