US Consumer Sentiment Revised Higher in September

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the US was revised higher to 93.2 in September 2019 from a preliminary estimate of 92.0 and above the previous month's final 89.8. Both consumer expectations and current conditions sub-indexes came in stronger than initially thought.

The consumer expectations sub-index stood at 83.4, above the preliminary reading of 82.4 and compared to August's 79.9. Meanwhile, the gauge for current economic conditions came in at 108.5, above the flash estimate of 106.9 and compared to the previous month's final figure of 105.3.

Inflation expectations for the year ahead was confirmed at 2.8 percent in September (vs August's 2.7 percent); and the 5-year outlook was revised slightly higher to 2.4 percent (vs preliminary 2.3 percent and August's 2.6 percent).

"Consumer sentiment continued to post small increases throughout September due to more favorable income trends, especially among middle income households. The overall trends in the Sentiment Index remain quite favorable, but show signs of a slow erosion. The Sentiment Index for the 3rd quarter of 2019 (93.8) was only slightly below the averages for the first half of 2019 (96.5) as well as for 2017 and 2018 (97.6). Despite the high levels of confidence, consumers have also expressed rising levels of economic uncertainty. Some of these concerns are rooted in partisanship, some due to conditions in the global economy (Brexit, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China), and some are tied to domestic economic policies. Trade policies have had the greatest negative impact on consumers, with a near record one-third of all consumers negatively mentioning trade policies in September when asked to explain in their own words the factors underlying their economic expectations (see the chart). These and other policy concerns have so far been held in check by positive finances, although fewer consumers now anticipate higher wages or lower rates of unemployment in the year ahead. Impeachments divert the attention of the President and Congress away from economic policies, and may become conflated with partisan strategies. While the outlook is for a slower but positive growth in consumption, that outlook is contingent on only modest impacts on jobs and wages from the array of potential issues facing the economy." Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, said.

US Consumer Sentiment Revised Higher in September

University of Michigan | Joana Ferreira |
9/27/2019 2:04:57 PM