Consumer sentiment inched up in early September, but Americans remained gloomy about the future with a gauge of expectations falling to the lowest level since 1980, a survey released on Friday showed.
LINDSEY PIEGZA, ECONOMIST, FTN FINANCIAL, NEW YORK
It is a step in the right direction certainly, although not a large step. A moderate increase in September showing consumers are a bit more comfortable with their current economic conditions. The economic outlook actually slipped a little bit, so although things right now are not as bad as previously thought they certainly don't see a light at the end of the tunnel right now. As far as the rise, it was pretty much as expected coming off of such a low level. We still have quite a ways to go before the consumer is even moderately confident.
It doesn't change our outlook, the consumer is still very frustrated with virtually everything -- 9 percent unemployment, still very tepid jobs creation and heightened job destruction, it is basically an impasse in Washington as the President came out and talked about a jobs program but it seems like more Americans are skeptical about the program than they are optimistic.
It really isn't a game changer. It is a step in the right direction off of that low set in August.
JAMES O'SULLIVAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MF GLOBAL, NEW YORK
It shows a little bit of a bounce, but the net result is still a big decline over the past few months. This index is showing a 'recession-like' drop over the last few months. Soft data like confidence have shown sharp deterioration, while the hard numbers have held up. Something has to give. Either confidence has to bounce back or the hard data have to worsen. I think confidence will come back, but that's still up for debate.
This report is not a huge surprise so it's not going to be a driver of markets today.
TOM PORCELLI, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMIST, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, NEW YORK
Confidence still remains disturbingly low. It was certainly nice to see the current conditions index rise again, but all we did was retake some ground to where we were in July.
I don't think this report is important for the Fed meeting next week but I do think the overall lack of consumer confidence will be very important.
VIMOMBI NSHOM, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
The slightly higher confidence, thanks to consumers' less pessimistic take on their current situations, managed to nudge past economists' forecasts (average 56.5) and is only the second upwards movement in the CSI in the past seven readings....Today's report confirms the suspicion in late August, which was that sour moods were abating, making room for confident anecdotes and attitudes to resume. Save that the process of hammering out the final details of the debt deal does not follow the first debt debate debacle, consumers should have something to look forward to in 2012 (continuation of payroll tax break and unemployment benefits...maybe even a Congress that passed legislation putting the public back to work, etc) and the Expectations component, which has fallen more steeply of the two components in the past six months, should begin to recover just as Current readings have.