Updated Jan 19, 2024 - Economy

America's economic mood is improving fast: survey

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

In the last couple months, Americans' sour sentiment has grown a lot sunnier.

Why it matters: Since the pandemic, U.S. consumers have consistently reported depressed economic sentiment, despite that fact that America's economy has staged a better recovery from COVID than the rest of the world's rich nations have.

State of play: Starting two months ago, America's mood started heading back up.

  • A University of Michigan index that tracks consumer sentiment has surged more than 28% since November.

Context: Since the late 1970s, the only other period of such a rapid two-month turnabout came in March 1991, amid the good feeling that permeated the country after the victory of the U.S. and its allies against Iraq in the first Gulf War.

Our thought bubble: The sudden onset of optimism may seem to have come out of nowhere.

  • But we've noted regularly that that two key drivers of consumer sentiment — gasoline prices, which have fallen significantly since October, and stock prices, which are fluttering near new record highs — could have the makings for a stark improvement in the national mood this year.
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