Research >> Economics

University of Michigan Consumer Confidence largely unchanged


The overall level of confidence remained largely unchanged in August as consumers did not panic in the face of slowing economic growth and the media’s double-dip drumbeat. The bad news is that consumers expect lackluster income and job growth for an extended period of time. This “new normal” outlook has encouraged consumers to pare down their debts and increase their reserve funds. While the data indicate a slowdown in the pace of growth in consumption that will last into 2011, outright declines in consumer spending are very unlikely. Nonetheless, the finances of consumers remain quite weak, and any additional erosion could quickly reduce their spending even more.

Lackluster Income and Job Prospects
Just one-in-four households reported that their finances had recently improved in the August survey, and just one-in-four expected any improvement in their finances in the year ahead. While income gains were reported by one-fifth of all households in August, the highest proportion in two years, those gains were still less than half as common as ten years ago. Moreover, half of all households not only anticipate no increase in their income, but also expected their inflation-adjusted incomes to decline during the year ahead. Job prospects remained grim as well. Eight-in-ten consumers did not expect any decline in the unemployment rate in the year ahead. While unemployment expectations were twice as positive as two years ago, the entire gain was due to a shift from anticipating additional increases to the expectation that unemployment would remain unchanged at high levels. Consumers attributed the lack of employment gains to the ongoing slowdown in economic growth. While consumers did not expect renewed declines in the economy in the year ahead, just one-in-three anticipated that the economy would be characterized by uninterrupted growth over the next five years.

The Sentiment Index was 68.9 in the August 2010 survey, slightly above the 67.8 in July and last year’s 65.7. The Current Conditions Index improved by 17.6% from a year ago, due to more favorable personal finances situation as well as improvements in the economy. More importantly, a decline of 3.2% was recorded in the Expectations Index, a component of the Index of Leading Indicators.

Optimism has been the primary characteristic of American consumers during the past half century. To be sure, consumers repeatedly suspended that optimism around recessions, but the suspension was always considered temporary. Now economic uncertainty reigns. It is far too early to declare that consumer pessimism has become the new default outlook of consumers. Nonetheless, the economic uncertainty that now exists has caused consumers to reduce their spending and increase their precautionary saving. The lesson of the financial crisis for consumers was that their best defense against economic adversity was to reduce their own debt.






Posted: August 27, 2010 Friday 10:00 AM




Tags - Research
ADP EMPLOYMENT
BEIGE BOOK
BUSINESS BAROMETER
BUSINESS INVENTORIES
CASE-SHILLER
CHALLENGER LAYOFFS
CHICAGO FED MIDWEST MFG
CHICAGO FED NATL ACTIVITY
CHICAGO PMI
CONSTRUCTION SPENDING
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
CONSUMER CREDIT
CPI
CURRENT ACCOUNT
DURABLE GOODS
EMPLOYMENT COST INDEX
EMPLOYMENT TRENDS INDEX
EXISTING HOME SALES
FACTORY ORDERS
FOMC STMT
FOMC
GDP
HELP WANTED HWOL
HOUSING STARTS
ICSC CHAIN STORE
IMPORT PRICE INDEX
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
ISM MFG
ISM NON-MFG
JOB OPENINGS
JOBLESS CLAIMS
KANSAS CITY FED MFG
LEADING INDEX
MASS LAYOFFS
MICH CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
MORTGAGE APPS
NAHB INDEX
NAPM-NY
NBER
NEW HOME SALES
NEW YORK FED MFG
NFIB OPTIMISM INDEX
NONFARM EMPLOYMENT
PAYCHEX-IHS SMALL JOBS
PENDING HOME SALES
PERSONAL INCOME
PHILA FED FORECASTERS
PHILA FED MFG
PHILA FED NON-MFG
PPI
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH
REAL HOURLY EARNINGS
RETAIL SALES
RICHMOND FED MFG
TEXAS FED MFG
TREASURY INTL CAPITAL
WHOLESALE INVENTORIES
Archives
Jun 2020
May 2020
Apr 2020
Mar 2020
Feb 2020
Jan 2020
Dec 2019
Nov 2019
Oct 2019
Sep 2019
Aug 2019
Jul 2019
Jun 2019
May 2019
Apr 2019
Mar 2019
Feb 2019
Jan 2019
Dec 2018
Nov 2018
Oct 2018
Sep 2018
Aug 2018
Jul 2018
Jun 2018
May 2018
Apr 2018
Mar 2018
Feb 2018
Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
Jul 2017
Jun 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
Jul 2016
Jun 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
Jul 2015
Jun 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
Jun 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008




Buy Economic Books at

The OneWall.com Book Shop

Quick Links
Barron's Online
Bloomberg
CNBC
CNBC TV Live
CNet Investor
Financial Times (UK)
Forbes
Kudlow Podcast
MSNBC TV Live
NBC News
NY Times
The Economist
TheStreet.com
Wall St Journal
Dismal Scientist
Dr. Ed Yardeni
FRED Graph
Lawrence Kudlow
Stone McCarthy
GDPNow
NABE
ABC News
CNNfn
Institutional Investor
MarketWatch
Cash Prices - WSJ.com
Dr. Jeremy Siegel
Market Map
NY RBOB Gas
Shadow Fed - SOMC
BankStocks.com
Dow Jones Indices
Morningstar
SP Indices
Mt Washington Observatory
Weather.com
Yahoo!!




National Association for Business Economics
NABE

Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works.

CFA Institute

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was created to examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.

The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform