Consumers became more optimistic in December, with the Survey of Consumers from University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters showing confidence at its highest level since June. The consumer sentiment index, which had fallen to 55.7 in August, rose to 67.7 in December, up 3.6 points from November.
Higher expectations for future growth helped to drive these numbers. The index for expected economic conditions increased from 55.4 last month to 61.1 now.
Inflationary expectations remained mostly unchanged, with prices expected to rise 3.1 percent over the next year.
Overall, these numbers suggest that consumers are becoming more confident that the economy will improve. While sentiments remain subpar, this is a good sign as we move further into the holiday season.
Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.