The University of Michigan today (Friday 9-17-21) released its preliminary Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) for September. The Index of Consumer Sentiment increased to a reading of 71.0 in September, up from 70.3 in August — a month-over-month increase +1.0% but -11.7% year-over-year (80.4 in September 2020). The Current Economic Conditions dropped to a reading of 77.1 in September, down from 78.5 in August — a month-over-month decline of -1.8% and a -12.2% year-over-year (87.8 in September 2020). Finally, the Index of Consumer Expectations increased to a reading of 67.1 in September, up from 65.1 in August — a month-over-month increase of 3.1% but down -11.2 year-over-year (75.6 in September 2020).
In a statement prepared for the preliminary release of the September CSI, Richard Curtain, Director of Surveys for the UofM said, “The steep August falloff in consumer sentiment ended in early September, but the small gain still meant that consumers expected the least favorable economic prospects in more than a decade. Just two components posted additional declines: buying attitudes for household durables fell again in early September to a low reached only once before in 1980, and long-term economic prospects fell to a decade low. The decline in assessments of buying conditions for homes, vehicles, and household durables left all three near all-time record lows (see the chart), with the declines due to spontaneous references to high prices. Some observers anticipated that the early August plunge in confidence would quickly disappear since it was driven by emotions. Emotions have long been known to speed responses, the so-called fight or flight response, which was the adaptive function they performed in early August. Many other sources of economic data have since shifted in the same direction and point toward slower growth in consumer expenditures and purchases of housing to the end of 2021.”
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Preliminary Results for September 2021