Confidence in Economic Policy Rises to Highest Level in 15 Years Even While Overall Consumer Sentiment Slips

The Associated Press

American consumers are feeling a bit less enthusiastic about their financial health and a bit less optimistic about the future.

The University of Michigan’s monthly survey of consumers hit 99 in its preliminary reading for October, below the 100.6 expected from economists polled by Marketwatch. In September, this survey produced a 100.1 reading.

“The small decline was due to less favorable assessments by consumers of their personal finances. Unfortunately, the downward revisions in the rate of growth in household incomes were accompanied by upward revisions in the year-ahead expected inflation rate, weakening real income expectations,” Richard Curtin, chief economist for The University of Michigan’s survey, said in a statement.

Curtin added that there was no evidence that the contentious Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings pulled down consumer sentiment. The survey overlapped with the recent stock market sell-off by only one evening, so that also did not play a role, according to Curtin.

Confidence rose in the government’s economic policies to the highest level in fifteen years, primarily due to Democrats taking a more favorable view than they had in the past. Of course, Republicans still have a far more favorable view of the Trump administration than Democrats.

“When asked about the upcoming election and its potential impact on their own personal finances and on the overall economy, consumers more frequently cited Republicans than Democrats as having a positive effect, with margins of 35% versus 26% for the overall economy and 34% versus 24% for the their own personal finances,” Curtain said. “A substantial portion, however, replied that there was no difference for the overall economy (36%) or for their own personal finances (41%).”


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