Consumer Sentiment Rose 2.2% to 74.1 in August

Ann Arbor, MI, August 28, 2020-Consumer sentiment rose 2.2% to 74.1 in August, according to final results from the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. 

This represents a 17.5% decline year over year. 

“Consumer sentiment has remained trendless in the same depressed range it has traveled during the past five months,” says Survey of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin. “The August figure posted an insignificant gain of just +0.4 Index points above the April to July average. The small August gain reflected fewer concerns about the year-ahead outlook for the economy, although those prospects still remained half as favorable as six months ago. The pandemic has created distinctive consumer reactions to the economy (see the chart). Since the April shutdown of the economy, a sizable number of consumers thought conditions could hardly get any worse. The natural response was that economic conditions would improve given the absence of any negative economic causes for the recession. For example, while nine-in-ten consumers viewed the current state of the economy negatively in August, half of all consumers anticipated the economy would improve in the year ahead. Although half anticipates an improved economy, when asked to judge the performance of the economy, 62% judged that the overall conditions in the economy could be best described as unfavorable. Although strong gains in consumer spending from the 2nd quarter lows can be anticipated, those gains will significantly slow by year-end without some additional fiscal spending programs to diminish the hardships faced by unemployed workers, small businesses, as well as support for state and local governments.”