Consumer Sentiment Rises Slightly in August

Consumer Sentiment increased 2.2 points in August to 74.1, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. August’s figure is 17.5 points below the August 2019 index. The Current Economic Conditions Index rose 0.1 points to 82.9 and the reading was 21.3 points below the August 2019 index. The Consumer Expectations Index climbed 3.9 points to 68.5 but was 14.3 points lower than a year ago.

“The small August gain reflected fewer concerns about the year-ahead outlook for the economy, although those prospects still remained half as favorable as six months ago. The pandemic has created distinctive consumer reactions to the economy. Since the April shutdown of the economy, a sizable number of consumers thought conditions could hardly get any worse. The natural response was that economic conditions would improve given the absence of any negative economic causes for the recession (…) Although strong gains in consumer spending from the 2nd quarter lows can be anticipated, those gains will significantly slow by year-end without some additional fiscal spending programs to diminish the hardships faced by unemployed workers, small businesses, as well as support for state and local governments. ” said Richard Curtin, chief economist of UM Surveys of Consumers.

Read the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release.