This week’s Sentiment Survey special question asked AAII members how they think the average consumer is faring relative to one year ago. Responses were mixed. Slightly less than a quarter of all respondents (24%) said the average consumer is doing better, primarily because of lower gasoline prices and an improved labor market. About 19% described the average consumer as faring somewhat/slightly better thanks to lower gasoline prices and improved labor market conditions. Roughly 21% said the average consumer is faring about the same, with the lack of wage growth as the most common reason. Nearly 18% of respondents said the average consumer is faring worse due to higher prices (excluding gasoline) and a lack of wage growth.
Here is a sampling of the responses:
- “I think consumers are doing better due to more people being employed and the lower cost of gasoline.”
- “Slightly better because of the improved job market and the reduction in gas prices.”
- “Less well. Food prices, insurance costs, everything but gasoline is up; wages are flat or are up much less than costs are.”
- “Not much better with stagnant wages and continued underemployment.”