After reporting a surge in U.S. consumer sentiment in the previous month, the University of Michigan released preliminary data on Friday showing a slight pullback in consumer sentiment in the month of August.
The report said the consumer sentiment index edged down to 71.2 in August after spiking to 71.6 in July. Economists had expected the index to slip to 71.0.
The consumer sentiment index reading for July marked the highest since the index was at 72.8 in September 2021.
“Consumer sentiment was essentially unchanged from July, with small offsetting increases and decreases within the index,” said Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.
The modest decrease by the headline index came as the index of consumer expectations dipped to 67.3 in August from 68.3 in July.
Meanwhile, the current economic conditions index rose to 77.4 in August from 76.6 in July, reaching the highest level since October 2021.
“At 71.2 index points, sentiment is now about 42% above the all-time historic low reached in June of 2022 and is approaching the historical average reading of 86,” said Hsu.
She added, “In general, consumers perceived few material differences in the economic environment from last month, but they saw substantial improvements relative to just three months ago.”
The report also said year-ahead inflation expectations edged down to 3.3 percent in August from 3.4 percent in July.
Long-run inflation expectations also slipped to 2.9 percent in August from 3.0 percent in July, staying within the narrow 2.9-3.1 percent range for 24 of the last 25 months.
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