A key consumer sentiment reading saw a dramatic drop in early August as the delta variant of Covid-19 increased fears about the path of the economy, the University of Michigan said Friday.

The consumer sentiment index tumbled to 70.2 in its preliminary August reading. That is down more than 13% from July’s result of 81.2 and below the April 2020 mark of 71.8 that was lowest of the pandemic era.

It was the lowest reading for the measure since 2011. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting a reading of 81.3 for August.

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