U.S. consumer sentiment popped higher in January, beating expectations and closing in on recent record highs.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 99.8 for January, above the mid-month preliminary reading of 99.1 and December’s 99.3. Economists had forecast 99.1.
“The resilience of consumers is remarkable and due to record low unemployment, record gains in income and wealth, as well as near record lows in inflation and interest rates,” said Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers chief economist, in a statement.
Curtin pointed out that at 99.8, consumer sentiment is very close to the cyclical high of 101.4.
“Gains in personal finances were reported by 53% of all consumers in January, exactly equal to the 2018 and 2019 averages–the highest two years in the past half century,” Curtin said.
The index’s gauge of current conditions ticked down to 114.4 from December’s 115.5. That was more than offset by the expectations gauge moving up from 88.9 to 90.5.