Consumer sentiment tops expectations in November, stays on pace for best year since 2000

A preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for November released on Friday came in slightly above expectations.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index hit 98.3. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected the preliminary read to come in at 98, slightly below an October print of 98.6.

“Consumer sentiment remained virtually unchanged in early November from its October reading,” Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Surveys of Consumers, said in a statement. “The stability of consumer sentiment at high levels acts to mask some important underlying shifts. Income expectations have improved and consumers anticipate continued robust growth in employment, but consumers also anticipate rising inflation and higher interest rates.”

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged at its meeting this week, but kept the door open for a rate hike in December. The central bank has already raised rates three times this year.

Curtin added, however, that the virtually unchanged print kept the index on pace for its best year since 2000.

The latest look at consumer sentiment comes shortly after the U.S. midterm elections. Democrats took control of the House, while Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate. This result was largely expected by experts.

Curtin noted that interviews leading up to Friday’s release went through Wednesday night, “there was only a one-day overlap after the mid-term election results were known by consumers.”

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