The University of Michigan Final Consumer Sentiment for December came in at 98.3, up 0.8 from the November Final reading. had forecast 97.6.

Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments:

Consumer confidence remained in December at the same record favorable levels as it has throughout the year. The Sentiment Index averaged 98.4 in 2018, the best year since 107.6 in 2000 (see the chart). Over the past half century, sentiment was higher in only two other time periods: 1964-65 and 1997-2000. These periods correspond to the two longest prior expansions since the mid 1800's. If the current expansion lasts past mid-2019, as is likely based on current data, it will become the longest expansion ever recorded. [More...]

See the chart below for a long-term perspective on this widely watched indicator. Recessions and real GDP are included to help us evaluate the correlation between the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and the broader economy.

Michigan Consumer Sentiment

To put today's report into the larger historical context since its beginning in 1978, consumer sentiment is 14.2 percent above the average reading (arithmetic mean) and 15.5 percent above the geometric mean. The current index level is at the 88th percentile of the 492 monthly data points in this series.