Consumers Remain Uber Confident

Consumer confidence “posted a robust rise” in the University of Michigan’s preliminary September Index of Consumer Sentiment.

Consumer sentiment reached 100.8, up from 96.2 in August and the second highest level since 2004—only behind the March 2018 reading of 101.4. And notably, stated Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist, Richard Curtin, the gains were widespread across all major socioeconomic subgroups.

The Current Economic Conditions Index rose to 116.1, up from 110.3 in August. Optimism also prevailed in the Expectations Index. It reached its highest level since July 2004—up to 91.1 from 87.1 in August—largely due to more favorable prospects for jobs and incomes. Despite a lessening of expected gains in nominal incomes in September, inflation expectations also fell, acting to offset concerns about declining living standards.

Consumers anticipated continued growth in the economy that would produce more jobs and an even lower unemployment rate during the year ahead.

While consumers were somewhat more likely to anticipate that the economic expansion would continue uninterrupted over the next five years, nearly as many expected another downturn sometime in the next five years. The largest problem cited on the economic horizon involved the anticipated negative impact from tariffs. Concerns about the negative impact of tariffs on the domestic economy were spontaneously mentioned by nearly one-third of all consumers in the past three months, up from one-in-five in the prior four months.

Final date for the month will be released on Friday.

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