US Economy

Consumer sentiment hits 87.2 in October vs. 88.2 estimate

A worker shows products to a customer at a Walmart store in Teterboro, New Jersey.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

The Index of Consumer Sentiment hit 87.2 in October, according to the University of Michigan on Friday, the lowest level since October 2014.

Economist expected the consumer sentiment index to hit 88.2 in October, down from 91.2 in September final reading, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

The decline was due to "less favorable prospects" for the national economy, with half of all consumers expecting an economic downturn within the next five years, according to the survey.

"Objectively, the probability of a downturn during the next five years is far from zero-this would be the longest expansion in 150 years if it lasted just over half of the five year horizon. Nonetheless, the October rise may simply reflect a temporary bout of uncertainty caused by the election," Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers chief economist, said in a statement.

The report said if interest rates rise in December, it will have a "minimal impact" on spending. It said consumers also expect a small slowdown in job creation that is likely to prevent any more declines in the unemployment rate.

"Overall, real personal consumption expenditures can be expected to increase by 2.5 percent through mid 2017," Curtin said.

The monthly survey of 500 consumers measures attitudes toward topics like personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.