Aug 24, 2022 - Economy

U.S. consumer mood breaks "bummer summer" funk

Morning Consult Index of Consumer Sentiment, by income group
Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Lower gas prices are making everyone feel a little better.

Americans — especially wealthier ones — cheered up a bit this month, according to a measure of consumer sentiment released today as part of the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index. The results were attributed to falling gas prices, and a stock market rebound.

What's happening: In August, consumer sentiment among adults in households earning more than $100,000 improved by 6.8%, Morning Consult found. For those in households earning less than $50,000, sentiment gained by 4.2%, according to the data.

Zoom out: The streak that culminated with this year's "bummer summer" is broken. Consumer sentiment had fallen month over month since last year, when the Delta variant crushed hopes for a "hot vax summer," and inflation kept surging.

  • We're still feeling badly though. "American consumer are still very negative about the economy," said Jesse Wheeler, an economic analyst at Morning Consult.
  • The big story here is that sentiment did not decline any further, he said.

What to watch: Was this a blip? The stock market is in limbo at the moment, with investors uncertain about the future of Federal Reserve rate hikes. And gas prices are notoriously volatile. Stay tuned.

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