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Consumer Sentiment: Steady Through January

January 29, 2021
Bottom Line:  Consumer sentiment fell slightly early in the month but remained steady throughout the month, with the final reading coming in very close to the preliminary reading.  Politics continues to play a major role in shaping consumers' views, but the changes have largely been offsetting.  Respondents who identify as Democrat have more optimistic outlooks, while those who self-identify as Republican had lower expectations for future economic conditions, reversing the trend from 2017-2020.   Looking past politics, consumer sentiment has remained low since the pandemic is now at a potential inflection point, depending heavily on the pace and success of the vaccine rollout.
Consumer Sentiment was REVISED DOWN by 0.2 points in late January to 79.0%, compared with market expectations for an increase to 79.4%.
Sentiment has deteriorated by -2.8 points over the past 3 months. Despite this month's slight decline, compared to December's final level of 80.7%, sentiment is 20.8% BELOW its year-ago level.
Current Conditions
were REVISED DOWN by 1.0 points to 86.7%. Current conditions are now 24.2% BELOW their year-ago level.

Consumer Expectations
were REVISED UP by 0.2 points to 74.0%.   Despite this month's slight decline, compared to December's final level of 74.6%, expectations are 18.2% BELOW their year-ago level.