Consumers have become more optimistic over the past few months, according to the Survey of Consumer from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. After bottoming out in August at 55.7, the consumer sentiment index has risen to 69.9 in December and 74.0 in January. As such, it is the highest point since May, when the index stood at 74.3.
The public is becoming more confident about both the current and future economic environment, with both components rising for the month. It had been anxieties about expected growth that led the index lower in past months, so its recovery has been a key to the indices’ rising. The expectations components increased from 47.4 in August to 68.4 in January – a significant improvement. The index for present conditions, meanwhile, rose from 68.7 to 82.6 over the same time period.
Inflationary expectations remain mostly unchanged, with prices expected to rise 3.2 percent in 2012.