Jan 23, 2019

Consumer sentiment was really bad in January

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Data: University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell 8% in January, to 90.7, the lowest reading since October 2016 and the biggest drop since September 2015. It missed expectations by a mile, with economists anticipating a reading of 97.0.

Beyond the headline number: Measures of consumer sentiment, views on current economic conditions and economic expectations all reversed course from December, turning negative on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.

According to the survey, economists estimate the U.S. government shutdown, which began Dec. 22, is subtracting as much as 0.2% from quarterly GDP growth every week.

What they're saying: "What you have now is not much more upside being seen, you see a lot more downside with the political agenda and trade conflicts, and no promise or hope for anything else like infrastructure," PwC global chairman Bob Moritz told CNBC on Tuesday.

Flashback to September: Obama vs. Trump's midterm economy

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The present and future confidence gap

Data: The Conference Board; Chart: Axios Visuals

The difference between Americans' views of their current situation and their expectations for the future continues to grow.

The state of play: The Conference Board's December consumer confidence report showed a 3.4 point rise in consumers' assessment of their present situation, and a 3-point decline in their expectations for the future.

Go deeper: Consumers are picking up the lagging business sector's slack

Midwestern manufacturing improved in December but is still contracting

Data: ISM Chicago; Chart: Axios Visuals

The manufacturing industry in the Midwest continued to contract in December, but did exceed expectations and deliver the best reading in four months.

Why it matters: The Chicago PMI, which tracks manufacturing companies based in the Chicago region, continues to rebound from October's abysmal report that showed the weakest number in four years and the second lowest in a decade.

Go deeperArrowJan 2, 2020

Survey: Top executives are pessimistic about the 2020 economy

Source: Deloitte; Note: Survey reflects CFO expectations for year-over-year increases in business spending and hiring; Chart: Axios Visuals

Chief financial officers are bracing for an economic slowdown this year, according to Deloitte's quarterly survey of nearly 150 executives at top North American companies.

Why it matters: Multiple surveys showed plunging optimism among top executives last year, thanks largely to trade war uncertainty. Deloitte's survey is a signal that skittishness continues to curb companies' hiring and spending plans this year, which could further hurt economic growth.

DetailsArrowJan 9, 2020