Consumer Sentiment Slips in Michigan Survey

Consumer Sentiment Slips in Michigan Survey

Consumer sentiment slipped in early September to its weakest level in more than a year because of rising financial concerns among higher-income households, a new survey indicates.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary September reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment registered 66.6, down from 68.9 in August. The median forecast by economists had been 70.

By The Numbers: Cass Freight Index.

"Confidence edged downward in early September, as consumers judged prospects for the national economy less favorably," the survey's director, Richard Curtin, said in a statement.

The report adds uncertainty to questions surrounding freight volume the rest of the year.

The National Retail Federation’s closely watched Port Tracker report has predicted July will be the peak month for containerized imports this year. However, combined volumes of loaded imports through Los Angeles and Long Beach were 7.1 percent higher in August than in July. Normally the peak season for holiday imports doesn’t come until September-October.

The Michigan survey’s assessment of current conditions, reflects Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items, rose to 78.4 from 78.3 in August.

The index of consumer expectations for six months from now decreased to 59.1, the lowest since March 2009, from 62.9.

Consumers in the confidence survey said they expect an inflation rate of 2.2 percent over the next 12 months, the lowest in a year, compared with 2.7 percent in August. Over the next five years, the figures tracked by the Federal Reserve, Americans expected a 2.8 percent rate of inflation, the same as the prior month.

-- Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com.