They perceive that their buying power continues to erode (no, it's not about taxes). U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index Falls to Lowest Level in Over a Year (RTT News) Consumer sentiment in the U.S. deteriorated by more than previously estimated in March, according to a report released by Reuters and the University of Michigan on Friday, with the consumer sentiment index downwardly revised by more than anticipated. The report showed that consumer sentiment index was downwardly revised to a reading of 67.5 in March from the preliminary estimate of 68.2 and is well below the February reading of 77.5. Economists had expected the index to be revised down to a reading of 68.0. With the bigger than expected downward revision, the consumer sentiment index was at its lowest level since November of 2009. Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey, said, "The proximate cause of the sharp drop in confidence was the rise in gas and food prices." "The more damaging cause, however, was that the fewest consumers in more than a half century expected income increases, and many fewer anticipated gains in their inflation-adjusted incomes," he added. The report showed that the index of consumer expectations plummeted to 57.9 in March from 71.6 in February, while the current conditions index slipped to 82.5 from 86.9.