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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Is Fairly Stable
by Tom Moeller  July 12, 2013

The consumer remains upbeat. Consumer sentiment in mid-July fell marginally to 83.9 from 84.1 in June. The figure remained up, however, from its August 2011 low of 55.8 and was just slightly lower than its May peak of 84.5. Consensus expectations had been for a slight increase to 84.8. During the last ten years, there has been a 59% correlation between the level of sentiment and the three-month change in real personal consumption expenditures.

This month's slight decline owed to offsetting movements in the index components. The consumer expectations figure fell to 73.8 from 77.8. It nevertheless retained its recent improvement from an August 2012 low of 65.1 and an August 2011 nadir of 47.6. Countering this monthly decline was an increase in the current economic conditions index to a seven year high of 99.7. 

The Reuters/University of Michigan survey data are not seasonally adjusted. The final monthly readings are based on telephone interviews with at least 500 households. Data can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is from Action Economics and can be found in Haver's AS1REPNA database.

University of Michigan (Q1'66 = 100) Mid-July June May July'12 2012 2011 2010
Consumer Sentiment 83.9 84.1 84.5 72.3 76.5 67.3 71.8
 Current Economic Conditions 99.7 93.8 98.0 82.7 85.6 79.1 80.9
 Consumer Expectations 73.8 77.8 75.8 65.6 70.7 59.8 66.0
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