August Consumer Sentiment

Some of the enthusiasm in consumers’ attitudes evaporated in the August sun. After a reading of 85.1 to end July, August’s tally was 82.1. This setback puts indicator at its lowest level since April. However, Americans feel much better year-over-year, last August’s tally was 74.3.

Both components of the survey deteriorated. Consumers feel slightly worse about their present circumstances. The reading on current situation fell to 95.2 from 98.6 in July. Simultaneously, Americans appear to be less sanguine about the future. Consumer expectations dropped to 73.7 after the reading of 76.5 in the prior period.

The current situation downtick in sentiment resonates with the similar component within the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence measure. This negative movement in Americans’ attitudes may not bode well for August’s consumption numbers. Atlas will look to the upcoming retail sales figures for signs of temperament tempering outlays. Combining August’s weak attitudes with the paltry growth in consumption seen in the recent income and outlays report points to slower growth in the third quarter of 2013 versus the second. (by C. Cox)