US consumer sentiment dipped in January after jumping to a five-month high in December, as Americans felt less optimistic about job prospects, a survey showed Friday.
The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment index in January dropped to 80.4 from 82.5 in December, the monthly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers showed. That was lower than economists' expectations for a reading of 83.5 this month.
The sub-index of current economic conditions, which reflects Americans' perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like houses or cars, fell to 95.2 in January from 98.6 in December.
The sub-index gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, declined to 70.9 in January from 72.1 in the prior month.
The survey follows the Labor Department's December jobs report released last week showing the economy added only 74,000 jobs last month, less than the average monthly gain of 183,000 in the past year.
Survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement that low- and middle-income households were mainly concerned about lackluster growth in employment and income, and anticipated less improvement in long-term prospects for the economy.
The consumer sentiment index, released twice each month, one preliminary and the other final, averaged 64.2 during the latest recession from December 2007 to June 2009, and was at 89 in the five years leading up to the recession.