The two measures of consumer confidence have diverged recently. The Conference Board’s survey jumped strongly in September, rising to its highest level in nearly eight years. Meanwhile, the competing survey from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, out today, fell from 91.2 in September to 87.9 in October, its lowest level in 12 months. As noted by Richard Curtin, the survey’s Chief Economist, “The early October loss was concentrated among households with incomes below $75,000, whose Index fell to its lowest level since August of 2014. In contrast, confidence among upper income households remained unchanged in early October from last month….” He submits that political uncertainties surrounding the upcoming election have diminished sentiment in October. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped strongly in September. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 101.8 in August to 104.1 in September, its highest level since August 2007. This represented a significant improvement in Americans’ assessments of the economy since May’s dismal 92.4 reading. The strong gains in the headline number were buoyed by better perceptions about current (up from 125.3 to 128.5) and future (up from 86.1 to 87.8) conditions. With that said, this measure has been extremely volatile over the past two years, with the current reading surpassing the prior post-recession high of 103.8 in January 2015. That peak was soon followed by lingering doubts about economic growth, and this survey still reflects some of those persistent anxieties despite notable improvements. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded in June after falling to a six-month low in May. The Consumer Confidence Index rose from 92.4 in May to 98.0 in June, its highest level since September’s 102.6 reading. Americans more upbeat in their assessments of the current (up from 113.2 to 118.3) and future (up from 78.5 to 84.5) economic environment. As such, this stands in contrast to a competing survey from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, which found that consumer sentiment pulled back in June and lingering economic anxieties. Comparatively, Americans were more optimistic in their outlook in the Conference Board report, with the percent expecting better business conditions in the next six months rising from 15.0 percent to 16.8 percent. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment waned again in February, with Americans nervous in their economic outlook. The Consumer Confidence Index dropped from 97.8 in January to 92.2 in February, its lowest level in seven months. Since June of last year, these data have been highly volatile, ranging from a low of 91.0 in July to 102.6 in September, with the latter being the second-highest reading since the recession. (The index peaked at a post-recessionary high of 103.8 in January 2015.) The high degree of change from month-to-month indicates just how anxious the public is right now, with recent financial market volatility likely dampening perceptions in this report. In February, consumers were less upbeat in their assessments of the current (down from 85.3 to 78.9) and future (down from 116.6 to 112.1) economy.
Respondents to this survey are often swayed by pocketbook issues, including worries about labor market prospects, and this release is no different. The percentage of those completing the survey suggesting that jobs were “plentiful” declined from 23.0 percent to 22.1 percent, with those saying that jobs were “hard to get” rising from 23.6 percent to 24.2 percent. In a similar fashion, the percent expecting their incomes to increase in the coming months decreased from 18.6 percent to 17.2 percent, with those predicting declining incomes increasing from 10.7 percent to 12.5 percent.
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level of the year in November. The Consumer Confidence Index declined from a revised 99.1 in October to 90.4 in November, the weakest reading since September 2014. As such, consumer attitudes have downshifted dramatically over the past two months, down from 102.6 in September, which had been the second-highest level of the year. Indeed, consumer confidence has been highly volatile in 2015, but with perceptions generally lower since reaching a post-recessionary high in January (103.8). Much of that weakness has stemmed from worries about the economic outlook, but it is also possible that geopolitical events could be taking a toll on confidence, particularly in this latest survey. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded to its highest level since January. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 101.3 in August to 103.0 in September, just shy of the 103.8 reading that was notching at the beginning of the year. The January figure had been the strongest figure since August 2007, suggesting that consumers are near a pre-recessionary high in terms of current confidence levels. With that said, Americans’ attitudes about the economy have been highly volatile so far this year, ranging from a low of 91.0 in July to its January peak. Much of the weakness that we have seen year-to-date has stemmed from worries about labor and income growth. This is true despite progress over the longer term, with the index up from 80.2 in September 2013 and 89.0 in September 2014. Read More
The University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters said that consumer confidence fell to a 12-month low in September, according to preliminary numbers. The Consumer Sentiment Index declined from 91.9 in August to 85.7 in September, with worries about the U.S. and global economy likely weighing heavily on Americans’ minds. Indeed, the decrease in perceptions was perhaps influenced by the falling stock market values and the media focus on economic headwinds. This was most noticeable in the subcomponent measuring future conditions, which declined from 83.4 to 76.4, the lowest level year-to-date. The index examining the current economic environment was also lower, down from 105.1 to 100.3, decreasing for the third straight month. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped strongly in August, rebounding from the sharp decline seen in July. The Consumer Confidence Index, which unexpectedly fell significantly from 99.8 in June to 91.0 in July, recovered in August, rising to 101.5. This was the second-highest level since August 2007 – second only to January’s 103.8 reading. The improvement in this report stemmed largely from the public’s better assessment of the labor market. For instance, 21.9 percent of respondents said that jobs were plentiful, up from 19.9 percent the month before. More importantly, the percent noting that jobs were “hard to get” fell from 27.4 percent to 21.9 percent. Read More
The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped higher in June. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 94.6 in May to 101.4 in June, matching its level of March and coming after two months of softness in the data. Sentiment continues to remain below the post-recessionary peak observed in January (103.8), but overall, this report suggests that Americans’ attitudes have rebounded from weaknesses earlier in the year. In addition, confidence has risen from one year ago when the index was 86.4. Despite these improvements, the public continues to remain somewhat anxious about labor and income growth. Read More
Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:
Last week, there were several reminders that the manufacturing sector has not recovered fully from economic weaknesses earlier in the year, even as business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about activity in the coming months. Durable goods orders declined 1.8 percent in May, extending April’s 1.5 percent decrease. Much of this softness stemmed from reduced aircraft sales, with orders excluding transportation modestly higher. Nonetheless, durable goods demand has been quite weak for much of the past year. On the positive side, we would expect stronger durable goods orders in the June data, with the recent Paris Air Show lifting aircraft sales, and the broader measure, which excludes transportation, has edged marginally higher over the past three months. We hope that this is the start of a rebound. Read More