The American consumer is more worried about the rising prices of big-ticket items than ever before, the University of Michigan’s bi-monthly survey of consumers showed Friday.
Overall consumer sentiment fell 5.5 percent in early July as Americans grew less satisfied about current conditions and less optimistic about the future.
Economists had expected the preliminary July number to rise to 87 from 85.5.
A big driver of this decline was the unexpectedly strong rise in inflationary pressures as demand for goods and services has surged faster than supplies of products and labor have expanded. Inflation has replaced unemployment as a top concern for consumers.
“Rather than job creation, halting and reversing an accelerating inflation rate has now become a top concern,” Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist, said. “Inflation has put added pressure on living standards, especially on lower and middle-income households, and caused postponement of large discretionary purchases.”