Friday, October 14, 2005


While I'm not a big fan of surveys of consumer sentiment in predicting recessions, today's University of Michigan Survey paints a pretty bleak picture. The sentiment index will undoubtedly move the index of leading economic indicators negative. The paragraph that caught my eye, however, was that on inflation:
Consumers expected an inflation rate of 4.3% during the year ahead in September, a substantial jump from the 3.1% recorded in August, and the highest inflation rate expected since 1990. More than one-third of all consumers reported that their financial situation had worsened, with one-in-four households citing higher prices as the prime reason. More importantly, in the September survey consumers held the least favorable financial prospects for the year ahead in more than a decade. "Just one-third of all consumers in the September survey expected their financial situation to improve during the year ahead," noted Curtin.
There is no way to varnish that into good news.