Consumer sentiment dips in January

The preliminary index for consumer sentiment in dipped to 80.4 in January, from 82.5 in December, according to the Thomson/Reuters/University of Michigan report released Friday, Jan. 17. The final survey numbers will be updated on Jan. 31.

Preliminary sentiment fell short of economist expectations of 83.5, according to the Bloomberg survey. The month-over-month decline was linked to disappointing job growth in December.

Rich Yamerone, chief economist with Bloomberg L.P. , said there aren’t enough full-time jobs with benefits being creating to push the economy forward. He said employers large and small are stifled by the healthcare mandate, reducing positions and slashing hours as needed to dodge higher benefit costs.

He said there are many folks working two or more jobs to make ends meet. They are taking lower-wage retail and food service positions to subsidize the wages they could be losing in what used to be a 40-to 45-hour per-week job.

Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Capital Markets America Inc., projected a reading of 81. He told Bloomberg that he expects to see some cooling off in spending in the first quarter.

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