Consumer Confidence Continues Four-Week Climb

Strong economic data has soothed policymakers after three 2019 interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve
Shoppers wait in line as the holiday shopping season kicks off at Old Navy's 34th Street location in New York City on Nov. 23, 2018. Consumer confidence is steadily rising heading into the 2019 holiday shopping season. (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images)
November 20, 2019 at 12:01 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • The Index of Consumer Sentiment has reached 110.8.

  • Retail worker consumer confidence rose 3 points, hitting 115.3.

The U.S. economy is chugging along as consumer confidence hit its fourth-straight weekly increase, according to new Economic Intelligence data from Morning Consult. 

Consumer confidence is always a closely watched measure for economic policymakers, who have signaled a cautious approach to shifting monetary policy as consumers keep the country’s economic engine humming. After October’s Federal Open Markets Committee meeting, Federal Reserve officials have largely suggested a pause in interest rate cuts after three in 2019. 

That’s unlikely to change as consumers feel comfortable spending, especially during the critical holiday shopping period.

“The economy is in a very good place,” New York Fed President John Williams said at a meeting Tuesday of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in Washington. “I think we have monetary policy in the right place.” 

Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment reached 110.8 this week, a 0.6 point rise from the week prior. The Index of Current Conditions increased 1.2 points to 110.3, while the Index of Future Expectations held relatively steady at 111.2, 0.3 points higher than the week before. All measures remained above the 100 line that divides positive from negative impressions of economic outlook. 

“Consumers have finally started to believe that they’re doing better financially than they were 12 months ago,” said John Leer, senior director for Morning Consult Economic Intelligence. “In other words, the low unemployment rate, consistent -- albeit moderate -- wage gains, and stable price inflation have translated into an increasing outlook regarding personal finances.” 

Confidence among retail workers, specifically, is up this week, leading into the holiday shopping season.

The retail industry is the country’s largest private-sector employer, and in the middle of the industry’s biggest time of year, many companies hire seasonal workers. The Index of Consumer Sentiment among retail workers rose 3 points this week, reaching 115.3.

Morning Consult’s aggregate indices are based on daily surveys of 7,500 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 11-17. Morning Consult Economic Intelligence data draws upon surveys that ask each respondent the same five questions as the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers. (A detailed explanation of the methodology can be found here.)

Claire Williams previously worked at Morning Consult as a reporter covering finances.

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