Consumer Sentiment Index Rises To 78.9 In September

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The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers reported that its Index of Consumer Sentiment registered a 78.9 result for September 2020 based on preliminary data, up from 74.1 in August 2020 but still below September 2019’s 93.2 level.

“Consumer sentiment improved in early September, reaching the top of the range it has traveled since April,” Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin said in a statement.

The survey’s Index of Consumer Expectations registered a 73.3 result for September 2020, up from 68.5 in August 2020 but below September 2019’s 83.4 level. Its Current Economic Conditions measure was 87.5 in September 2020, up from 82.9 in August 2020 but down from September 2019’s 108.5 level.

The next data release — for final September data — is scheduled for Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

“Over the next several months, there are two factors that could cause volatile shifts and steep losses in consumer confidence: how the election is decided and the delays in obtaining vaccinations. While the end of the recession will depend on these non-economic factors, the hardships endured by consumers can only be offset by renewed federal relief payments,” Curtin said in the statement.

Whether Congress and the president can agree on another round of federal stimulus for individuals or companies has been a moving target in recent weeks, with much drama but not a ton of actual movement on the matter. But there’s another effort on the table as of Sept. 15 — one of the result of a bipartisan process by the House’s “Problem Solvers Caucus.”

The group’s suggested $1.5 trillion plan seeks to make a bill that sufficient Democratic and Republican legislators can agree on to break a stalemate.

Also, data released by the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that retail sales rose in August to $537.5 billion, up 0.6 percent. The reading came on the heels of July’s rise of 0.9 percent, updated from 1.2 percent, and is 2.6 percent higher than August 2019.

Economists had forecast a rise of 1 percent.

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