University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment posts final August reading of 58.2, up from July's 51.5; gain in sentiment seen across age, education, income, region and political affiliation, attributed to decelerating inflation

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August 26, 2022 (press release) –

  Aug Jul Aug M-M Y-Y
  2022 2022 2021 Change Change
Index of Consumer Sentiment 58.2 51.5 70.3 +13.0% -17.2%
Current Economic Conditions 58.6 58.1 78.5 +0.9% -25.4%
Index of Consumer Expectations 58.0 47.3 65.1 +22.6% -10.9%

 

Next data release: Friday, September 16, 2022 for Preliminary September data at 10am ET

Surveys of Consumers Marks Leadership Change

Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu
The final August reading continued the early month improvement in consumer sentiment, rising 13.0% above July but remaining 17% below a year ago. Most of this increase was concentrated in expectations, with a 59% surge in the year-ahead outlook for the economy following two months at its lowest reading since the Great Recession (see chart). In addition, personal financial expectations rose 12% since July. The gains in sentiment were seen across age, education, income, region, and political affiliation, and can be attributed to the recent deceleration in inflation. Lower-income consumers, who have fewer resources to buffer against inflation, posted particularly large gains on all index components. Their sentiment now even exceeds that of higher-income consumers, when it typically lags higher-income sentiment by over 15 points. Hopefully this tentative improvement will continue, as overall sentiment remains extremely low by historical standards.

The relative relief felt by consumers reflected in their inflation expectations. The median expected year-ahead inflation rate was 4.8%, down from 5.2% last month and its lowest reading in 8 months. Uncertainty over expectations rose considerably, particularly among lower-educated consumers. Long run expectations came in at 2.9%, remaining within the 2.9-3.1% range seen in the past year.

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