Consumer sentiment hits 100.8 in September, vs. 96.6 estimate

A preliminary look at consumer sentiment in September easily topped expectations on Friday.

The University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers said sentiment hit 100.8 in September, up from 96.2 in August. The level marks the second highest of the year and the second strongest since 2004. Economists polled by Reuters expected the preliminary read on September consumer sentiment to reach 96.6.

The jump in consumer sentiment is “largely due to more favorable prospects for jobs and incomes,” according to Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Surveys of Consumers. “Consumers anticipated continued growth in the economy that would produce more jobs and an even lower unemployment rate during the year ahead.”

The data also showed the biggest concern for consumers was a potentially negative impact from tariffs.

“Concerns about the negative impact of tariffs on the domestic economy were spontaneously mentioned by nearly one-third of all consumers in the past three months, up from one-in-five in the prior four months,” Curtin said.

The U.S. slapped tariffs on goods from some of its key trade partners, including China and the European Union. Both China and the EU have retaliated with tariffs of their own. However, sentiment around trade improved this week after multiple reports said the U.S. was trying to restart trade talks with China.

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