Home » Consumer Sentiment Falls, Retail Sales Growth Sluggish And Other Economic News Of Note
Consumer Sentiment Falls, Retail Sales Growth Sluggish And Other Economic News Of Note
January 6, 2014
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary reading of consumer sentiment in September, released Sept. 13, fell to 76.8, the lowest reading since April. The final August Sentiment Index stood at 82.1, down significantly from the post-recession highs seen in the May through July period. UM Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin attributed the sharp decline to consumers’ worries that rising interest rates will slow economic and jobs growth. Worry about the impact of Syria and ongoing political gridlock in Washington were also factors in the decline, Curtin noted. The preliminary Expectations Index also was down sharply and reached an eight-month low.
Retail sales growth was a sluggish 0.2% in the advanced August reading, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released the data Friday, Sept. 13. The sales numbers were seen by many economists and other observers as yet another indication that economic growth is slowing again. Foodservice and drinking place sales rose 0.3%, seasonally adjusted, and are 3.8% higher than a year ago. The seasonally adjusted total sales number $45.8 billion for August, marks the third consecutive month of adjusted gains. Sales fell in May and June after hitting a record high $46.1 billion in April.
Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ consensus forecasts for real gross domestic product in 2013 improved slightly to 1.6% in the September survey of 50 economic forecasting groups. The 2014 forecast of 2.6% GDP real growth was unchanged. The ’13 and ’14 forecasts for real disposable income and consumer spending growth remained largely unchanged at 0.6% and 2.6% for DPI in ’13 and ’14 respectively and 2% and 2.5% for PCE.