Sales, Production Figures Detract From US Confidence Surge

18 November 2003

Latest economic reports contain mixed signals for the US economy, with disappointing sales and manufacturing figures scraping the gloss from an upbeat consumer confidence reading.

• The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index stood at 93.5 in November's mid-month reading, up from 89.6 at the end of October and above expectations of 91.0. The component measuring assessments of the current climate jumped from 99.9 to 102.8 as the jobs market improved and stock markets strengthened.

• However, retail sales slipped 0.3% in October, according to the Commerce Department. This was the second straight month of decline after the summer shopping surge. Last month's dip reflected a 1.9% slide in automobile purchases and a 1.6% fall in gasoline sales. Excluding these, sales rose 0.4%.

• Meanwhile, industrial production increased 0.2% in October, according to the Federal Reserve. This was slower than September's 0.5% growth and below expectations of a 0.4% rise.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff