US Consumer Sentiment Revised Down, Remains Highest Since 2004

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the United States was revised down to 100.7 in October of 2017 from 101.1 in the preliminary estimate and lower than market expectations of 100.9. Yet, it is still the strongest number since January 2004 amid more favorable consumers' assessments of current economic conditions as well as expected economic prospects.

The gauge of consumer expectations was revised down to 90.5 from an initial estimate of 91.3. However, it is much higher than 84.4 in September. The current conditions index rose to 116.5 from an initial estimate of 116.4 and 111.7 in September.

Also, Americans expect the inflation rate to be 2.4 percent next year, higher than 2.3 percent in the initial estimate but lower than 2.7 percent in September's survey. The 5-year expectation was 2.5 percent, the same as in September and above a preliminary of 2.4 percent. 

Personal finances were judged near all-time record favorable levels due to gains in household incomes as well as decade highs in home and stock values. Lingering doubts about the near term strength of the national economy were dispelled as more than half of all respondents expected good times during the year ahead and anticipated the expansion to continue uninterrupted over the next five years. To be sure, consumers do not anticipate accelerating growth rates but rather a continuation of the slower pace of growth that has characterized this recovery. Low unemployment and low inflation rates have made lower income growth rates more acceptable. Moreover, the Great Recession has caused a fundamental change in assessments of economic risks, with consumers now giving greater preference to economic stability relative to economic growth. This is the essential reason why consumers have voiced such positive economic assessments of such a modest pace of economic growth. Overall, the data indicate a 2.6% growth rate in real consumption in 2017 and in the first half of 2018.

University of Michigan | Joana Taborda |
10/27/2017 2:22:49 PM