As we head into the holiday shopping season, how are consumers feeling?
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We’ll get the latest pulse-reading on American consumers later this morning — the University of Michigan sentiment survey. This index hit a multi-decade low in June, and has only crept back up slightly since then. The main culprit is inflation, which, as we saw with Thursday’s Consumer Price Index, appears to be cooling off a little, but is still running well above 7% a year.
Consumers aren’t likely to be convinced by one slightly encouraging CPI report that inflation’s coming down and their gas or groceries are about to become more affordable, said Mark Hamrick at Bankrate.
“The fact of the matter is that inflation has been raging for a year and a half now, weighing not only on the mindset of the consumer but also their pocketbook,” he said.
But even with inflation, consumer spending has held up pretty well so far in the face of rising interest rates.
Chris Jackson at public-opinion firm Ipsos said that’s because a key support for consumers remains in place: the strong job market, with low unemployment.
“While inflation is high and people are feeling pain from it, we aren’t really seeing those widespread layoffs,” Jackson said.
One warning sign, though: Ipsos finds American workers are getting more worried that they, or someone they know, may lose their job in the next six months.
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