September’s Consumer Sentiment Index came out this morning with a reading of 92, up from 89 which is good. Far more important, however, is what the consumer is ‘doing’ not ‘feeling’ and that goes into spending. One way to find that out is in the reading of the Retail Sales Report that comes out every month.
August Retail Sales rose .5% better than the expected; a .1% gain and slightly less than the month before at .8% growth. However, if you take out autos it was flat for the month.
A problem with this report is that it is always looking backward a month and in that period many things can happen that makes the consumer fold up his or her wallet and stop spending. Since the consumer represents 70% of our economy it’s very important that we keep track of any trends that might be developing. Currently, they are content and spending; with jobs that pay and are secure.