Friday, November 13, 2009
The mood of the consumer continues to be unsteady and unpredictable as indicated by the latest reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.
Like the Conference Board's consumer confidence index, consumer sentiment has now declined for two months and, after surging from record-lows early in the year, current readings are down sharply from levels seen over the summer. It is important to remember, however, that even the September high of 73.5 is still quite low by historical measure.
The index dropped from a final October reading of 70.6 to just 66.0 in the first of two readings for the month of November, deterioration seen in sub-indexes for both current conditions and expectations of the future that fell 4.1 points and 4.9 points, respectively.
The labor market continues to be the primary reason for the anxiety felt by the American public, a completely understandable view of things given the news last Friday that the unemployment rate had risen to 10.2 percent, a 26-year high.