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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Consumer sentiment highest in 7 years

Consumer confidence rose to its highest level since July 2007, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
"Consumers have been gradually regaining their economic footing in the past several months, with confidence rising to the highest level since the start of the Great Recession," said Richard Curtin, director of the surveys.
The third consecutive monthly gain, October's increase was due to improved personal finances as well as a more favorable outlook for the overall economy, according to Curtin.
Nearly six-in-ten consumers reported that the economy had recently improved, the most positive rating in more than ten years. When asked about the economic outlook for the year ahead, 45 percent expected good times financially, up from just 28 percent a year earlier.
What the survey did not find was any negative impact on confidence from the global economic slowdown, military conflicts, or Ebola. None of these issues was mentioned by more than a few respondents; instead, respondents emphasized improved wage and employment prospects due to a stronger economy. Gains in holiday spending are expected to be the best in several years, benefitting from higher confidence as well as falling gas prices at the pump.
In the September and October surveys, more households expected income gains than any time in the last six years--since September of 2008. The Sentiment Index was 86.9 in the October 2014 survey, up from 84.6 in September and 73.2 last October.
The Surveys, conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research, monitor consumer attitudes and expectations. Each month, 500 individuals are randomly selected from the contiguous United States to participate.
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