Press Release
Consumers’ Expectations Rebounded in March
April 13, 2015

NEW YORK—Results from the March 2015 Survey of Consumer Expectations suggest that expectations have rebounded compared to last month. In particular, after a marked decline in February, expectations about home prices, earnings growth and household spending returned to levels that prevailed during the second half of 2014. 

Other findings from the March 2015 Survey include:

Inflation

  • The median one-year and three-year ahead inflation expectations at 2.9 percent remained essentially unchanged compared to last month.
  • After a marked decline in February, the median one year ahead house price inflation expectation bounced back, increasing 0.4 percentage points to 3.4 percent. The increase was relatively consistent across demographic groups, but was most pronounced for respondents with higher income and respondents living in the Midwest.
  • Expectations about one-year ahead gasoline price changes again showed substantial month-to-month volatility. After a sharp increase last month, the median decreased by 2.7 percentage points to 5.9 percent in March.

Labor Market

  • After a steep decline in February, the median one-year ahead earnings growth expectation increased by 0.4 percentage points to 2.6 percent, the second highest level since the series began in June 2013. Although relatively consistent across demographic groups, the increase is most notable for respondents with lower education and lower income.
  • Job separation expectations increased slightly. The average perceived probability of leaving one’s job voluntarily increased by 0.3 percentage point to 21.5 percent, while the average perceived probability of losing one’s job increased by 0.7 percentage points to 15.0 percent.
  • The mean probability of finding a job in the next three months (conditional on losing one’s job today) increased for the fourth consecutive month to 55.7 percent, the highest level since the inception of the survey in June 2013. The increase was driven primarily by individuals with higher income and with a college education.

Household Finance

  • One year ahead median household income growth expectations increased by 0.2 percentage points to 2.9 percent, the highest level in the series.
  • After a marked decline last month, one year ahead household spending expectations increased by 0.7 percentage point to 4.5 percent, returning to levels more consistent with those observed in recent months. The increase was consistent across demographic subgroups.
  • Expected (and perceived) change in credit availability a year from now or compared to a year ago remained essentially unchanged compared to the last month. The average probability of missing a minimum debt payment over the next three months increased by 0.4 percentage points to 12.4 percent.

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