• Preliminary reading on November sentiment rose to 95.7 from 95.5.
  • Median estimate had been for an increase to 95.9.
  • Score for current conditions dropped, expectations climbed modestly.

American consumer confidence edged higher this month as the labor market remained strong and the US China trade dispute moved toward an agreement.

The preliminary reading for November rose to 95.7 from 95.5 in the University of Michigan Survey Of Consumers. Analysts in the Reuters poll had forecast a score of 95.9.  

Attitudes in US households have been unusually stable over the past two years. The 12-month moving average for the sentiment survey has varied just 2.35 points since the beginning of 2018, from 98.425 in September 2018 to 96.075 this month. That is the longest period without a discernable trend in over two decades.  


The gauge for the satisfaction of consumers with their current economic conditions fell to 110.9 from 113.2 in October. It had been forecast to decline to 112.5. The measure for expectations rose to 85.9 in November from 84.2. It had been predicted to climb to 84.9.  


Trade concerns were a top consideration for many consumers as one-in-four mentioned tariffs, according to the accompanying statement from the University Of Michigan Survey Of Consumers.


The trade dispute between the US and China appears to be headed for a “phase one” resolution. Negotiations on details have continued amid positive reports from both sides and an expectation for a December signing with Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump.

The labor market remains the strongest support of consumer sentiment.  The 128,000 jobs added in October were far in advance of expectations and revisions boosted the totals for August and September by a further 95,000. Unemployment remained near a 50 year low at 3.6% and annual wages gains returned to 3.0%, making 15 months at 3.0% or better the best run in over a decade.


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