Consumer Sentiment Slips in December

Consumer Sentiment fell 2.6 points in December to 95.9, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. Last month’s figure is 2.6% below the December 2016 index.

The Current Economic Conditions Index grew 0.3 point to 113.8, 1.7% higher than the December 2016 estimate. The Consumer Expectations Index slid 4.6 points to 84.3, 5.8% lower than a year ago.

“Consumer confidence continued to slowly sink in December, with most of the decline among lower-income households. The extent of the decline was minor, with the December figure just below the average for 2017 (95.9 versus 96.8),” said Richard Curtin, chief economist of UM Surveys of Consumers. “Indeed, the average in 2017 was the highest since 2000, and only during the long expansions of the 1960’s and 1990’s was confidence significantly higher. The recent strength was due to the second highest assessments of current economic conditions since 2000. This strength was offset by a slight increase in uncertainty about future economic prospects. Tax reform was spontaneously mentioned by 29% of all respondents, with nearly an equal split between positive and negative impacts on economic prospects. Party affiliation was the dominant correlate of people’s assessments of the tax legislation, with the long-term economic outlook the most negatively affected.”

Read the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release.