By Michael S. Derby 

Some gloom crept into the outlook for America's households last month, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday.

In its January Survey of Consumer Expectations, the bank found that respondents now expect rising unemployment down the road. For the fourth straight month, the survey reported expectations of higher joblessness a year from now rose, with 40.6% of respondents holding that view, from the prior month's 38.8%. The jobless rate was 4% in January, but the New York Fed report doesn't ask respondents predict the rate.

The New York Fed said that was the highest reading since March 2014, and that the increase was found broadly across age, education and income levels.

The report also found respondents saying the odds of losing a job have risen, as have the probabilities of voluntarily leaving a job and being able to find a new one.

The report also said that expectations of higher income declined slightly to 2.8% of respondents, while expectations of spending growth "decreased notably," from 3.5% of respondents, from 3% in December. The survey also said expectations of rising credit availability ebbed in January to its lowest level since October 2016.

The New York Fed's survey arrives at a time of significant uncertainty for the U.S. economic outlook. At the Fed's late January policy meeting central bankers pressed the pause button on their rate rise campaign while they wait to see how a slowing global economy and tighter financial conditions affect the U.S. Many observers believe the Fed will no longer raise rates this year, although there's little expectation right now that the U.S. is facing an outright downturn.

The New York Fed report found survey respondents' expectations of inflation remained stable at 3% both a year and three years from now. The bank noted these readings have been "very stable" over the last nine months.

Write to Michael S. Derby at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 11, 2019 12:12 ET (17:12 GMT)

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