Michigan Consumer Sentiment Drops to 8-Month Low

Consumer sentiment dropped to an 8-month low in July according to the preliminary report for the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The index fell 2.2 points (-3.2%) from June's final reading to 66.0. The latest reading was below the forecast of 68.5.

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:

For the second straight month, consumer sentiment is essentially unchanged. July's reading was a statistically insignificant 2 index points below last month, well within the margin of error. Although sentiment is more than 30% above the trough from June 2022, it remains stubbornly subdued. Nearly half of consumers still object to the impact of high prices, even as they expect inflation to continue moderating in the years ahead. With the upcoming election, consumers perceived substantial uncertainty in the trajectory of the economy, though there is little evidence that the first presidential debate altered their economic views.

Year-ahead inflation expectations fell for the second consecutive month, reaching 2.9%. In comparison, these expectations ranged between 2.3 to 3.0% in the two years prior to the pandemic. Long-run inflation expectations came in at 2.9%, down from 3.0% last month and remaining remarkably stable over the last three years. These expectations remain somewhat elevated relative to the 2.2-2.6% range seen in the two years pre-pandemic.