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Survey of Consumers Shows Remarkably Stable Strength Since Election

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Consumer Sentiment Ticks Higher, Current Economic Conditions Index Highest Since 2000

consumer sentiment men shopping

Shoppers at Third Street Promenade outdoor shopping mall on August 17, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo: Reuters)

The Survey of Consumers, a closely-watched consumer sentiment gauge by the University of Michigan, has shown remarkable strength since the presidential election. The preliminary results for March show a again from the final 96.3 in February to 97.6 in March.

“The overall level of consumer sentiment remained quite favorable in early March due to renewed strength in current economic conditions as well as the extraordinary influence of partisanship on economic prospects,” Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin said. “The Current Economic Conditions component reached its highest level since 2000, largely due to improved personal finances.”

Though feelings on the current state are bipartisan, partisanship continues to play a major role in future expectations. Republicans and independents have a much more favorable view of the future than Democrats.

“Among Democrats, the Expectations Index at 55.3 signaled that a deep recession was imminent, while among Republicans the Index at 122.4 indicated a new era of robust economic growth was ahead,” Mr. Curtain added. “Interestingly, those who self-identified as Independents had an Expectations Index of 88.3, which was nearly equal to the midpoint of the partisan difference.”

The Survey of Consumers, which hit a 12-year high following the election, has led the way in a string of economic data showing increased optimism under the Trump Administration.

The U.S. Economic Confidence Index by Gallup set a new record high last week, soaring 7 points to +16 as the current conditions component also set a record monthly high. The index–which is the average of two components, how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel the economy is improving or getting worse–first surged to the highest level ever measured following the election and the inauguration of President Trump.

Preliminary Results for March 2017

Mar Feb Mar M-M Y-Y
2017 2017 2016 Change Change
Index of Consumer Sentiment 97.6 96.3 91.0 +1.3% +7.3%
Current Economic Conditions 114.5 111.5 105.6 +2.7% +8.4%
Index of Consumer Expectations 86.7 86.5 81.5 +0.2% +6.4%
Next data release: March 31, 2017 for Final March data at 10am ET
Written by
Staff Writing Group

PPD Business, the economy-reporting arm of People's Pundit Daily, is "making sense of current events." We are a no-holds barred, news reporting pundit of, by, and for the people.

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