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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Consumer Sentiment: Final Results for September 2022

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

Predicted: 59.0
  • Actual: 58.6
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  • Change from Previous Month: +0.687% (+ 0.4 point)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: -19.505% (-14.2 points)

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  • Final ICS Reading for August 2022: 58.2

  • Final ICS Reading for September 2021: 72.8

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From today's report:

"...Consumer sentiment confirmed the preliminary reading earlier this month and was essentially unchanged from the month prior, at less than one index point above August. Buying conditions for durables and the one-year economic outlook continued lifting from the extremely low readings earlier in the summer, but these gains were largely offset by modest declines in the long run outlook for business conditions. As seen in the chart, sentiment for consumers across the income distribution has declined in a remarkably close fashion for the last 6 months, reflecting shared concerns over the impact of inflation, even among higher-income consumers who have historically generated the lion's share of spending.

The median expected year-ahead inflation rate declined to 4.7%, the lowest reading since last September. At 2.7%, median long run inflation expectations fell below the 2.9-3.1% range for the first time since July 2021. Inflation expectations are likely to remain relatively unstable in the months ahead, as consumer uncertainty over these expectations remained high and is unlikely to wane in the face of continued global pressures on inflation..."

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CHART: Index of Consumer Sentiment History - 3 Month Moving Average - September 2022 UPDATE

CHART: Index of Consumer Sentiment History
3 Month Moving Average
September 2022 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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