Consumer Sentiment Climbs to 12-Month High


U.S. consumer sentiment improved a tad in February to rack up a year high as Americans became more confident about the economy's resilience, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 75.3, edging up from 75.0 the month before. It was the highest level  since February 2011.

It surpassed economists' expectations of 73.0 and recovered from a decline to 72.5 in February's preliminary reading.

"It is not that surging oil prices, instability in the Mideast, the European crisis or uncertainties about future tax and spending policies could not ultimately derail the recovery, but that consumers expect the pace of overall economic growth to continue to slowly restore lost jobs despite these potential problems," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

The survey's barometer of current economic conditions eased to 83.0 from 84.2, but the survey's gauge of consumer expectations also rose to its highest level in a year at 70.3 from 69.1.

A third of consumers spontaneously reported hearing about more job opportunities, the highest proportion ever recorded by the survey.

But consumers' outlook for the economy and job growth was more positive than their views on their own finances. Improving finances were reported by 27% of respondents, down from 29% in January.

The survey's one-year inflation expectation held steady at 3.3%, while the survey's five-to-10-year inflation outlook rose to 2.9% after sitting at 2.7% for four months.