Fleet Management

Consumer Confidence Better than Expectations, Industrial Production up Year over Year

February 15, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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Consumer confidence rose in February, according to the latest Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan survey, blowing past what a poll of economists were forecasting, but January industrial production numbers were not so stellar.

The consumer confidence index rose to 76.3 after registering 73.8 in January. The level is the highest in three months. Economists were predicting 74.8.

The reading is a bit surprising following a separate report earlier this week showing U.S. retail sales in January barely edged higher after households had to adjust to higher taxes at the start of 2013. 

However, some analysts say consumer confidence readings from the previous two months were artificially low because of concern about the so-called fiscal cliff, which was averted in last-minute deal.

Meantime, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s report on in industrial production in the country shows it fell by 0.1% in January from the month before. This measure of output from the country’s factories, mines and utilities follows a 0.4% increase in December. The result is lower than one poll of economists, which forecasted an average hike of 0.2%. Leading to the decline was a 0.4% drop in manufacturing production, while production at the nation’s mines fell by 1%. Utilities, on the other hand, saw an increase of 3.5%.

On the upside, the Fed reported industrial output increased at an annual rate of 1.9% in the final quarter of last year, well above its earlier estimate of 0.2% increase, and the January level is 2.1% higher than compared to the same time a year earlier. 

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