Preliminary Results for January 2020
Jan Dec Jan M-M Y-Y
2020 2019 2019 Change Change
Index of Consumer Sentiment 99.1 99.3 91.2 -0.2% +8.7%
Current Economic Conditions 115.8 115.5 108.8 +0.3% +6.4%
Index of Consumer Expectations 88.3 88.9 79.9 -0.7% +10.5%
Featured Chart (PDF)
Next data release: Friday, January 31, 2020 for Final January data at 10am ET
Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin
Consumer sentiment remained virtually unchanged in early January, differing by just 0.2 Index-points from December. This stability extended to all components, both current assessments as well as future economic prospects. Impeachment was barely mentioned--just by 1% of consumers. While those that mentioned impeachment were also somewhat less optimistic than other consumers, the small numbers had a negligible impact on the overall level in consumer sentiment. It is of some interest to note that during the Clinton impeachment, sentiment similarly rose: the Sentiment Index rose from 100.5 in the December 1998 survey when the House voted for impeachment, to 108.1 in February 1999, when the Senate voted to clear Clinton. Importantly, the economic expansion lasted another two years, with the economy peaking in March 2001, setting the record for the longest expansion since the mid-1950s. The current expansion has established a new record length largely due to consumer spending. Consumers will continue to sustain the expansion due to their favorable judgements about their current and prospective financial situation (see the chart). Of course, whether that strength will last another two years is uncertain, given that the election season has only begun and features fundamental changes in taxes and spending programs that directly affect consumers.