Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Consumer Sentiment
The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment improved in December, rising 3.6 points to an index level of 67.7. It now sits 12 points above its recent low of 55.7, which it hit in August. The overall increase was driven in large part by the expectations component, which jumped up from 55.4 in November to 61.1 in December. The current conditions component edged up 0.3 points to 77.9 during the month. Headline sentiment and its components have steadily improved from their respective lows in August, but still remain well below levels attained early in 2011. The release did note one significant downside aspect to the month’s report: Only 8 percent of consumers expect an inflation-adjusted (real) income gain in 2012, matching the all-time low set in March 1980 (an important difference being that inflation and inflation expectations were running above 10 percent at the time).This dour assessment of income growth meshes with data on wages and compensation, which have been flat-to-down in recent quarters. Shorter-run (one-year ahead) median inflation expectations ticked down 0.1 percentage point to 3.1 percent during the month, while longer-term (five-to-ten years ahead) expectations remained unchanged at 2.7 percent (at the lower end of their “normal” range).