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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Falls Unexpectedly
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2013

The reading from the Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment during mid-August fell sharply to 80.0 (+7.7% y/y) from an unrevised 85.1 in July. Consensus expectations had been for stability at 85.0. The latest level was the lowest since April but still was up sharply versus its August 2011 low of 55.8. During the last ten years, there has been a 58% correlation between the level of sentiment and the three-month change in real personal consumption expenditures.

This month's downdraft in overall sentiment reflected declines in both of the major component series. The mid-August reading of current economic conditions fell to 91.0 (+2.6% y/y) from 98.6 in July. In sympathy with that fall, the consumer expectations figure dropped to 72.9 (+12.0% y/y) this month from 76.5 in July.

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.

Reuters/University of Michigan (Q1'66 = 100) Mid-Aug July June Aug'12 2012 2011 2010
Consumer Sentiment 80.0 85.1 84.1 74.3 76.5 67.3 71.8
 Current Economic Conditions 91.0 98.6 93.8 88.7 85.6 79.1 80.9
 Consumer Expectations 72.9 76.5 77.8 65.1 70.7 59.8 66
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