Consumers Lose Some Confidence in October

Consumer shopping consumer sentimentConsumer sentiment slipped to 67.9 in October, as Americans continued to be reluctant about purchasing decisions amid uncertain income gains. A Bloomberg survey had forecast sentiment to rise to 69 in October (preliminary) from September's 68.2 reading. The index was at 68.9 in August, 67.8 in July, and 76 in June.

Richard Curtin, director of surveys for the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, said Americans have not found a satisfactory answer yet to their income questions. "Personal financial expectations were near their all-time low, and the steep decline in buying plans was related to uncertainty about consumers' future income prospects," Richard Curtin said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Better Days Ahead? Not Likely

In October, the consumer expectations component of the Thomson Reuters/Michigan survey rose to 64.6 from 60.9 in September. However, that component is still well below the June 69.8 reading. The current conditions component plunged to 73 from 79.6 in September, and is also far lower than June's 85.6 reading.

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Consumers' one-year inflation outlook rose to 2.6% in October from 2.2% in September, and their five-year inflation outlook was 2.7%, unchanged from September.

October's consumer sentiment report shows how far U.S. consumers are from being certain that better days are ahead. The data reflects Americans whose sentiment is encouraged by rises in the stock market, corporate earnings and by other economic reports only to have that rising sentiment dashed by disappointments in the jobs market.

Consumer sentiment isn't likely to rebound in a sustained way until Americans become convinced that both sustained job growth is occurring and that their incomes will likely rise in the year ahead.
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