The numbers: The University of Michigan’s gauge of consumer sentiment fell to an initial March reading of 59.7 from February’s level of 62.8.
Economists were expecting a reading of 62.0, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.
Key details: Expectations for inflation over the next year rose to 5.4% from February’s expectation of 4.9%, the highest level since 1981, while inflation expectations over five years held steady at 3%.
A gauge of consumer’s views of current conditions fell to 67.8 in March from 68.2 in February, while an indicator of expectations fell to 54.4 from 59.4 in the previous month.
Big picture: Economists were expecting inflation to ease in the second half of 2022, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting surge of commodity prices have put those predictions in doubt. Americans are very focused on rising prices and interest rates, and with gasoline prices surging in recent weeks, there’s little hope that their outlook will improve in the immediate future.