U.S. consumers' mood improved unexpectedly in March as confidence in government economic policy improved, but sentiment remained anemic overall and close to a record low, a survey showed on Friday.
The Surveys of Consumers said those who thought the administration of President Barack Obama was doing a good job rose to 23 percent. In February that number was 14 percent and it is up from just 7 percent in January.
Indeed, the one-month gain from February to early March in confidence in economic policies was the largest ever recorded, the report said.
The index of consumers' assessment of current economic conditions fell to 62.3 from 65.5 in February, hitting the lowest since November 2008.
Signals on the inflation front were mixed.
One-year inflation expectations rose to 2.2 percent in March from 1.9 percent in February.
Five-year inflation expectations fell to 2.8 percent from 3.1 percent.
Expectations for the overall sentiment index ranged from 47.5 to 57.0, based on a Reuters poll of 61 analysts.
Ultimately, sentiment remains severely depressed and is not far from the record low of 51.7 that it hit in May 1980. The University of Michigan confidence index dates back to 1952.
(Reporting by Burton Frierson, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)