U.S. consumer sentiment edges up in October

FILE PHOTO: Diners eat lunch in outdoor seating at a restaurant in the Little Italy section of Manhattan on the first day of the phase two re-opening of businesses following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment inched up to a seven-month high in early October as an uptick in expectations for better economic prospects in the future outweighed a reversal in assessments of current conditions, a survey released Friday showed.

The Univeristy of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers said its preliminary index reading for October climbed to 81.2 from a final September level of 80.4. It was the highest level since March and modestly exceeded the median expectation of economists in a Reuters poll of 80.5.

The increase was led by a gain in the expectations index to 78.8, again the highest since March, from 75.6 in September. Economists were looking for a reading of 76.5. The current conditions index, meanwhile, slid to 84.9 from 87.8 and was short of a Reuters estimate of 88.5.

“Slowing employment growth, the resurgence in COVID-19 infections, and the absence of additional federal relief payments prompted consumers to become more concerned about the current economic conditions,” Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin said. “Those concerns were largely offset by continued small gains in economic prospects for the year ahead.”

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