Consumer Sentiment Rose 3.8% in September

Ann Arbor, MI, September 27, 2019-Consumer sentiment rose 3.8% to 93.2 in September, according to final results from the University of Michigan. 

This represents a 6.9% decline year over year. 

“Consumer sentiment continued to post small increases throughout September due to more favorable income trends, especially among middle income households” says Survey of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin. “The overall trends in the Sentiment Index remain quite favorable, but show signs of a slow erosion. The Sentiment Index for the 3rd quarter of 2019 (93.8) was only slightly below the averages for the first half of 2019 (96.5) as well as for 2017 and 2018 (97.6). Despite the high levels of confidence, consumers have also expressed rising levels of economic uncertainty. Some of these concerns are rooted in partisanship, some due to conditions in the global economy (Brexit, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China), and some are tied to domestic economic policies. Trade policies have had the greatest negative impact on consumers, with a near record one-third of all consumers negatively mentioning trade policies in September when asked to explain in their own words the factors underlying their economic expectations (see the chart). These and other policy concerns have so far been held in check by positive finances, although fewer consumers now anticipate higher wages or lower rates of unemployment in the year ahead. Impeachments divert the attention of the President and Congress away from economic policies, and may become conflated with partisan strategies. While the outlook is for a slower but positive growth in consumption, that outlook is contingent on only modest impacts on jobs and wages from the array of potential issues facing the economy.”