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Confidence was unchanged in early September from the August final and barely different from the July reading. Small and offsetting changes have taken place in the third quarter 2016 surveys: modest gains in the outlook for the national economy have been offset by small declines in income prospects as well as buying plans.
While income gains expected during the year ahead have edged upward, declines in inflation expectations were the main reasons future financial prospects improved, as both near and long term inflation expectations fell to near record lows. Nonetheless, buying plans suffered from the perception that no additional price discounts would be offered.
Even the more optimistic outlook for the economy had little if any impact on the expected growth rate in new jobs. Importantly, all of these changes were relatively minor. Overall, consumers remain reasonably optimistic about their economic prospects. Real personal consumption expenditures can be expected to grow by 2.6% through mid 2017.
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