U.S. consumers are looking ahead slightly more positive than they did a month ago. That’s according to preliminary data released by the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers. The Index of Consumer Expectations, taking into account consumers’ personal financial outlook as well as their short- and long-term view of the general economy, improved from 84.2 in October to 85.9 in the preliminary November reading, but remains slightly below last year’s November reading of 88.1.
According to the Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, consumers were slightly more positive with respect to the general economy while assessing their personal financial outlook slightly less favorably than a month ago.
Interestingly, the partisan divide that is so obvious in today’s political landscape extends to how Americans view the country’s economic outlook. While Republicans look ahead optimistically, Democrats have a significantly gloomier view of where the country is headed economically. The fact that supporters of the sitting president’s party have a more positive outlook on the economy is nothing new in the long history of the Surveys of Consumers. During Obama’s eight years in office, Democrats were consistently more optimistic, which was promptly reversed after Trump was elected in November 2016. The current gap in consumer expectations is particularly pronounced though, which seems to be in line with the broader political climate.