Michigan Consumer Sentiment Falls for Second Straight Month

The September final report for the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index came in at 68.1, down 1.4 (-2.0%) from the August final. This morning's reading was above the forecast of 67.7.

The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is a monthly survey of consumer confidence levels in the U.S. with regards to the economy, personal finances, business conditions, and buying conditions, conducted by the University of Michigan. There are two reports released each month; a preliminary report released mid-month and a final report released at the end of the month.

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

Consumer sentiment confirmed its early-month reading and was little changed this month, slipping a mere 1.4 index points from August and remaining 16% higher than a year ago. A small decline in consumer expectations over their personal finances was offset by a modest improvement in expected business conditions. Consumers are understandably unsure about the trajectory of the economy given multiple sources of uncertainty, for example over the possible shutdown of the federal government and labor disputes in the auto industry. Until more information emerges about these developments, though, consumers have reserved judgement on whether economic conditions have materially changed from the past few months.

Year-ahead inflation expectations moderated from 3.5% last month to 3.2% this month. The current reading is the lowest since March 2021 and is above the 2.3-3.0% range seen in the two years prior to the pandemic. Long-run inflation expectations came in at 2.8%, falling below the narrow 2.9-3.1% range for only the second time in the last 26 months. In comparison, long-run inflation expectations ranged between 2.2 and 2.6% in the two years pre-pandemic. [