Report: Consumer Sentiment Highest Since Oct. 2008
Jul 20, 2012
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Consumer sentiment measured by the Consumer Reports Index improved sharply in the report released in early July 2012, jumping to its highest reading since October 2008. The measure of sentiment rose from 47.5 in the previous month to 53.1 in the latest report.

The index measure of financial difficulties was down to its lowest level since first measured in April 2009. CR's Trouble Tracker, an index of financial difficulties faced by Americans in the past 30 days, dropped from 46.5 last month to 41.8 in the report released in early July 2012.

CR's employment measurement moved from negative territory in the previous month, at 49.7, to positive territory in the latest month, at 50.9 - meaning more people started than lost jobs in the last 30 days.

Another reversal was seen in the CR retail index. After five months of downward movement, the index's past 30-day retail measurement was up - from 8.9 in the previous month to 9.9 in the latest report. Planned purchasing - purchases intended for the next 30 days - was up from 7.0 in the previous month to 8.6 in the current report.

"This positive start to the summer, with all measures moving in a favorable direction, indicates a better economic picture overall. Over the past four years, we have seen that gains can prove to be fragile. Holding and building on these improvements will depend most on continued job growth to ensure a durable gain in the consumer outlook," said Ed Farrell, director of Consumer Insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

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