Foodservice Equipment Reports

Consumer Confidence Hits Highest Point In Decade, Gas Prices Finally Stop Dropping

On the consumer-confidence and gasoline-price watch: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index jumped another four and a half points in the final January reading to 98.1 from 93.6 in the final December measure. It now stands at its highest level in the past 10 years.

As for gasoline prices, they finally quit falling after 123 consecutive days with a tiny increase on Jan. 27 and have increased every day through Feb. 1, when they stood at a national average of $2.056 per gallon for regular, according the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The UM Consumer Sentiment Index reading was the highest point for the index since it hit 103.8 in January 2004. The UM Consumer Expectations and Current Conditions Indexes also rose strongly. The Sentiment Index stands 20.8% higher than a year ago and the Expectations Index is up 27.8% from January 2014.

The slight gains in retail gas prices had been expected as wholesale prices had begun to rise. Still, most forecasters, including both AAA and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, expect prices to remain moderate through 2015. EIA forecasts an average price for regular in 2015 of $2.60.