consumer sentiment

Consumer Sentiment Lowest Since 1980 - O RLY?

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index hit a new low, 54.9. The headlines blare it's the lowest since 1980. That's true, the index hit 51.7 in May of 1980, but the reality is the index is only slightly lower than November 2008, when sentiment hit 55.3.


Consumer Sentiment August 2011


Reuters and the University of Michigan refuse to publicly release the data for the past 6 months. The below graph was reconstructed from digging around in press releases.

Consumer confidence numbers

Perhaps you saw this headline in the WSJ the other day.

With signs growing that the recession has ended, U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in August, especially regarding expectations for the economy six months from now, a report released Tuesday said.
The current month's reading was far above economists' expectations of 47.0, according to a survey conducted by Dow Jones Newswires.

Robert Oak did a great job breaking down the numbers, which showed that things weren't nearly as rosy as first suggested. In fact, the survey didn't make all that much sense.
Well, it turns out that there were two other consumer surveys released this week that the media mostly overlooked, that weren't nearly as positive.

Frightened consumers have stopped spending

ShopperTrak RCT Corporation’s
Retail Traffic Index (SRTI) today reported that total U.S. foot traffic for the month of September fell a sharp 9.3 percent while the company’s National Retail Sales Estimate reported retail sales fell 1.0 percent for the same period – the first year-over-year sales decline since March 2003.
On a weekly level, ShopperTrak’s NRSE reported sales for the week ending October 11 fell a 2.7 percent as compared to last year, while weekly sales fell 0.6 percent versus the previous seven day period ending October 4.


U. S. consumer confidence suffered its steepest monthly drop on record in October, a survey showed Friday, as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression sent shocks waves through the economy.