Michigan Consumer Sentiment Mostly Unchanged in September

The September Final Report came in at 58.6, up 0.4 (0.7%) from the July Final. Investing.com had forecast 59.5. Since its beginning in 1978, consumer sentiment is 31.5 percent below the average reading (arithmetic mean) and 30.7 percent below the geometric mean.

Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments:

Consumer sentiment confirmed the preliminary reading earlier this month and was essentially unchanged from the month prior, at less than one index point above August. Buying conditions for durables and the one-year economic outlook continued lifting from the extremely low readings earlier in the summer, but these gains were largely offset by modest declines in the long run outlook for business conditions. As seen in the chart, sentiment for consumers across the income distribution has declined in a remarkably close fashion for the last 6 months, reflecting shared concerns over the impact of inflation, even among higher-income consumers who have historically generated the lion's share of spending.

The median expected year-ahead inflation rate declined to 4.7%, the lowest reading since last September. At 2.7%, median long run inflation expectations fell below the 2.9-3.1% range for the first time since July 2021. Inflation expectations are likely to remain relatively unstable in the months ahead, as consumer uncertainty over these expectations remained high and is unlikely to wane in the face of continued global pressures on inflation. [More...]

See the chart below for a long-term perspective on this widely watched indicator. Recessions and real GDP are included to help us evaluate the correlation between the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and the broader economy.