Early Sept. Consumer Sentiment Hits 2nd Highest Level Since '04

Ann Arbor, MI, September 14, 2018-Consumer sentiment rose to 100.8 in early September, 4.8% higher than August’s 96.2, according to preliminary results from the University of Michigan.

This represents a 6.0% increase year over year.

“Consumer sentiment posted a robust rise in early September, reaching 100.8, the second highest level since 2004--only behind the March 2018 reading of 101.4,” says Survey of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin. “Importantly, the gains were widespread across all major socioeconomic subgroups. The Expectations Index reached its highest level since July 2004, largely due to more favorable prospects for jobs and incomes (see the chart). Despite a lessening of expected gains in nominal incomes in September, inflation expectations also declined, acting to offset concerns about declining living standards. Consumers anticipated continued growth in the economy that would produce more jobs and an even lower unemployment rate during the year ahead. While consumers were somewhat more likely to anticipate that the economic expansion would continue uninterrupted over the next five years, nearly as many expected another downturn sometime in the next five years. The largest problem cited on the economic horizon involved the anticipated negative impact from tariffs. Concerns about the negative impact of tariffs on the domestic economy were spontaneously mentioned by nearly one-third of all consumers in the past three months, up from one-in-five in the prior four months.”