Consumer Sentiment Rips Higher as Both Current Conditions and Expectations Improve by More than Expected

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs the American flag as he arrives for a campaign rally at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. There are 14 days until the the presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Consumer sentiment improved far more than expected in the first weeks of September, according to the University of Michigan’s survey.

The survey’s index rose to 100.8, up from 96.2 in August. Economists had predicted a much more modest rise to 97.0. In fact, the reading was above the top of the range of forecasts by economists polled by Bloomberg.

The preliminary September figure is the second highest level of consumer sentiment since 2004-only behind the March 2018 reading of 101.4.

“Importantly, the gains were widespread across all major socioeconomic subgroups. The Expectations Index reached its highest level since July 2004, largely due to more favorable prospects for jobs and incomes,” Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist, said.

The largest gain was in consumer’s view of current conditions, which rose 5.3 percent from a month ago and is up nearly 4 percent from a year ago. Consumers’ expectations for the future rose by a robust 4.6 percent. This measure is up by nearly 8 percent from a year ago.

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