NEW YORK — About half of Americans say they are less confident in their central bank now than they were five years ago, according to a survey released Friday.
This lack of confidence comes at a critical juncture for the Federal Reserve, which on Wednesday announced a bold but risky program to pump more money into the economy to support the U.S. recovery.
The program's success hinges on the Fed's hard-won credibility that it can keep prices stable and bring down unemployment over the long run.
Just 7 percent of those surveyed said they had more confidence in the Fed in 2010, below the 12 percent in 2009 but the same percentage as in 2008, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed.
The flagging confidence "will affect perception of the Fed's ability to keep prices stable," said Richard Curtin, the survey's director.
People in the middle-third income group reported the least positive views of the Fed, with 58 percent saying they were less confident.
Overall, 49 percent said they were less confident in the Fed now compared with five years ago, the same as in 2009.
The question was not asked at any time in which the Fed enjoyed widespread credibility and was asked only once before, in 1987, following the stock market crash.
"While it is thus hard to judge the true extent of the recent loss in confidence in the Fed, it is hardly reassuring that half of all consumers reported that they were now less confident," Curtin wrote.
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