Michigan Consumer Sentiment Up 8% in January, Beats Forecast

This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was maintained by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.


The January preliminary report came in at 64.6, up 4.9 (8.2%) from the December final. Investing.com had forecast 60.5. Since its beginning in 1978, consumer sentiment is 24 percent below its average reading (arithmetic mean) and 23 percent below its geometric mean.

Joanne Hsu, the director of surveys, made the following comments:

Consumer sentiment remained low from a historical perspective but continued lifting for the second consecutive month, rising 8% above December and reaching about 4% below a year ago. Current assessments of personal finances surged 16% to its highest reading in eight months on the basis of higher incomes and easing inflation. Although the short-run economic outlook fell modestly from December, the long-run outlook rose 7% to its highest level in nine months and is now 17% below its historical average.

Year-ahead inflation expectations receded for the fourth straight month, falling to 4.0% in January from 4.4% in December. The current reading is the lowest since April 2021 but remains well above the 2.3-3.0% range seen in the two years prior to the pandemic. Long-run inflation expectations were little changed from December at 3.0%, again staying within the narrow 2.9-3.1% range for 17 of the last 18 months. Long-run inflation expectations remain elevated relative to the 2.2-2.6% range seen in the two years pre-pandemic. Uncertainty over both inflation expectations measures remains high, and changes in global factors in the months ahead may generate a reversal in recent improvements.
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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.