Skip to Main Content

Article Attachment

The attached file contains this articles commentary as well as tables and charts of the data.

Consumer Sentiment:  Extreme Partisanship Even In Consumer Surveys

January 13, 2017
Bottom Line: Consumer sentiment held near its cyclical highs in the early January survey with a modest increase in consumers' attitudes about current conditions and a slight decline in their expectations. Most interesting was the comment from the survey's chief economist: "...The importance of government policies and partisanship has sharply risen." The report notes that from 1960 to 2000 only 6% of respondents commented about government policy (either negatively or positively). But during the last six years that averaged 20% -- and references to government policy (either positive or negative) in this latest survey totaled 44%. That led to a huge divide in the expectations component of this survey -- those who spoke favorably about the government pushed the expectations component of this survey to nearly 109, while those who spoke unfavorably pushed the expectations component down to 66.2, a "stunning" divide according to the survey administrators. On net consumers are much more positive and are holding that view two months after the election but the underlying data suggests potential for tremendous volatility going forward.

Consumer Sentiment FELL by 0.1 points in early January to 98.1%, compared with market expectations for an increase to 98.5%. Despite this month's slight decline, sentiment is now 6.6% ABOVE its year ago level.

Current Conditions ROSE by 0.6 points to 112.5%. This is 5.7% ABOVE their year ago level.

Consumer Expectations FELL by 0.6 points to 88.9%. Despite this month's slight decline, expectations are 7.5% ABOVE its year ago level.