U.S. Consumer Confidence Ticks Up in October But Stalls at Month-End
By Xavier Fontdegloria
Consumer confidence in the U.S. increased slightly in October
compared with September, but data collected during the second half
of the month showed sentiment is stalling, according to a
University of Michigan survey released Friday.
The final reading of the index of consumer sentiment was 81.8 in
October, marginally higher than the flash estimate of 81.2 two
weeks ago and slightly up from September's 80.4 level. Economists
surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected the indicator to
remain unchanged from its preliminary reading at 81.2.
Consumer confidence is still 14.3% lower compared with the same
month a year earlier, data showed.
Fear and loathing among Americans are producing a false sense of
stability in consumer sentiment, said Richard Curtin, the survey's
"Fears were generated by rising Covid-19 infection and death
rates, and loathing was generated by the hyper-partisanship that
has driven the election to ideological extremes," he said, noting
that the impact of both the virus and the political division will
continue long past the election "with the potential to permanently
alter the economic and political landscape."
Consumers' assessment of the current economic conditions
decreased to 85.9 in October from 87.8 in September, but rose from
the flash reading of 84.9 two weeks ago.
The index of consumer expectations--which reflects the balance
of respondents anticipating improved business conditions in the
next six months--rose to 79.2 from 75.6 the prior month, and
increased from the 78.8 preliminary estimate.
"The outcome of the election can accelerate or narrow these
partisan shifts, but unlike the 2016 election, renewed optimism now
requires progress against the coronavirus and mitigating its uneven
impact on families, firms, and local governments," Mr. Curtin
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 30, 2020 10:31 ET (14:31 GMT)
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