Consumers are warily encouraged by the administration's economic policies but will not increase spending much this year, University of Michigan researches said. The U-M Institute for Social Research said in its 128th survey of consumer confidence that high interest rates and personal financial pressure continue to burden the attitude of the buying public.
"Only slow gains in consumer sales can be expected in 1981," the researchers predicted, noting that attitudes toward the home-buying market were at a record low level.
The latest figures show overall consumer confidence dipped slightly from the last quarter of 1980 to the January-March period this year. A major contributor to the drop was reluctance to purchase big-ticket items such as cars and homes, the researchers said. But optimism for improved business conditions and moderating prices posted gains, easing the effect.