Consumer Sentiment Slides in January

Consumer Sentiment fell 1.5 points in January to 94.4, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. Last month’s figure is 4.2% below the January 2017 index. January was the third consecutive monthly decline and lowest reading since July 2017.

The Current Economic Conditions Index slipped 3.6 points to 109.2, 1.9% below the January 2017 estimate. The Consumer Expectations Index gained 0.5 point to 84.8, 6.1% lower than a year ago.

“While the preliminary January reading for the Sentiment Index was largely unchanged from last month (-1.5%), consumers evaluated current economic conditions less favorably (-4.6%). This small decrease in current conditions produced a small overall decline,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist of UM Surveys of Consumers. “Importantly, the survey recorded persistent strength in personal finances and buying plans, while favorable levels of buying conditions for household durables have receded to preholiday levels in early January, largely due to less attractive pricing. The Expectations Index remained virtually unchanged at 84.8. Tax reform was spontaneously mentioned by 34% of all respondents; 70% of those who mentioned tax reform thought the impact would be positive, and 18% said it would be negative.”

Read the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release.

About Stephen Newton

Stephen Newton is an economic research associate at ABA.
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