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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Consumer Sentiment: Preliminary Results for July 2022

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) -  Preliminary Results for July 2022 was released today:

Predicted: 50.0
  • Actual: 51.1
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  • Change from Previous Month: +2.2% (+1.1 points)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: -37.07% (-30.1 points)

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  • Final ICS Reading for June 2022: 50.0

  • Final ICS Reading for July 2021: 81.2

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From today's report:

"...Consumer sentiment was relatively unchanged, remaining near all-time lows. Current assessments of personal finances continued to deteriorate, reaching its lowest point since 2011. Buying conditions for durables adjusted upwards, owing both to consumers who cited easing supply constraints and those who believed that one should buy now to avoid future price increases, which would exacerbate inflation going forward. Even with the adjustment, buying conditions remained 26% lower than a year ago.

Consumers remained in agreement over the deleterious effect of prices on their personal finances. The share of consumers blaming inflation for eroding their living standards continued its rise to 49%, matching the all-time high reached during the Great Recession. These negative views endured in the face of the recent moderation in gas prices at the pump.

Inflation expectations have held steady or improved somewhat. The median expected year-ahead inflation rate was 5.2%, little changed from the past five months. Median long run expectations fell to 2.8%, just below the 2.9-3.1% range seen in the preceding 11 months. Inflation uncertainty continued to grow, with 26% of consumers expecting prices to stay the same or fall over the next 5 to 10 years, up from 11% a year ago.
.."

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CHART: Current Financial Situation Compared to A Year Ago (Monthly and Three Month Moving Average) - July 2022 PRELIMINARY UPDATE

CHART: Current Financial Situation Compared to A Year Ago
(Monthly and Three Month Moving Average)
July 2022 PRELIMINARY UPDATE


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The ICS is derived from the following five survey questions:


  1. "We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?"


  2. "Now looking ahead, do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now?"


  3. "Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole, do you think that during the next twelve months we'll have good times financially, or bad times, or what?"


  4. "Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely: that in the country as a whole we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, or that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what?"


  5. "About the big things people buy for their homes, such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a good or bad time for people to buy major household items?"

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The ICS uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the ICS = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as those polled back in 1966.

The ICS is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer valuable insight into consumer spending.

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The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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