Reuters/Consumer Sentiment Survey
University of Michgan

Reuters/University of Michigan
Consumer Sentiment Survey

For both economists and the business sector, consumer attitudes and sentiment are key in determining trends in consumer spending.  The general belief is that the lower this level of sentiment, the less consumers are likely to spend. Conversely, a higher level, which represents greater consumer optimism, increases the prospects for greater consumer spending.  To gather this data, the University of Michigan Consumer Research Center conducts monthly consumer surveys that focus on five questions:  (1) a rating of household financial conditions, (2) a rating of expected household financial conditions a year from now, (3) a rating of expected business conditions a year from now, (4) expectations for the economy for the next five years, and (5) buying plans. 

There are different ways the data is presented.  Normally, the market anticipates each month's release along with other key economic indicators, and comparisons are made with the previous month's release and expected forecasts.  Since we believe month-to-month interpretation is less significant than longer-term trends, we include rate-of-change charts with a monthly graph of the long-term data, which goes back to 1978.  We also apply Fibonacci Grids, which is useful in interpreting data that is primarily emotionally and psychologically driven.

Data is obtained courtesy of the St. Louis Federal Reserve's databank, and is updated monthly when reports are released.  

University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey

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