Foodservice Equipment Reports

Consumer Confidence Down, Gas Prices Up

The party had to end sometime. The run-up in consumer confidence took a pause during the first half of February, according to the preliminary reading from the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index, released Feb. 13. The index fell unexpectedly to 93.6 from a final measure of 98.1 in January. That reading was the strongest since January 2004. But the February preliminary was still the highest level for the index since January 2007 and is equal to the reading at the end of December.

The UM survey showed consumers less optimistic about current economic conditions, and they also had lower expectations about the next six months. The UM readings mirror a slowdown in consumer spending during the past two months, especially for durables.

Meanwhile, gasoline prices continued to rise after bottoming out on Jan. 26 nationally. The average price of a gallon of regular reached $2.239 Friday, Feb. 13, up 6.5 cents from the previous Friday and more than 12 cents higher than a month ago. Still, most forecasters expect gasoline prices to remain moderate for most of 2015.

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