consumer sentiment

User: *Grant* / flickr

The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on September consumer confidence came in at 84.6, marking the highest level in 14 months.  

Improved outlook reflected by this estimate today could mean Americans feel more comfortable about their spending.

This fall, hiring at Kroger and Meijer are on the rise, too.

Kroger has announced it will hire 20,000 permanent positions at its supermarkets, including roughly 1,800 in Michigan.

Lizzie Williams / Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Americans are less optimistic about the economy in the wake of the partial government shutdown earlier this month.

That information is coming from the University of Michigan’s "Index of Consumer Sentiment", which measures how confident consumers are in their economy.

Experts say the latest drop in consumer sentiment may impact the holiday shopping season.

From the Associated Press:

Michiganders are becoming more optimistic about the economy and that positive thinking is adding a bit of extra shine to Gov. Rick Snyder's image.

That's according to new results out today from Michigan State University's State of the State Survey.

An MSU press release says state residents haven't been this positive about the economy since 2005, with 54 percent of survey participants  characterizing their financial situation as "good" or "excellent" and 61 percent expecting things to get even better in the year to come.

More from MSU:

"The Michigan economy has added 150,000 jobs since the job market bottomed out at the end of 2009," said Charles Ballard, MSU economics professor and director of the State of the State Survey. "The improvement in the economy is reflected in the brighter mood in our latest survey."

The findings are based on the latest quarterly phone survey conducted from Feb. 14 to April 15. A total of 963 Michigan adults were questioned in the survey which has an error rating of +3.16 percent.

In the fall 2011 survey, conducted from mid-September through early November, only 46.2 percent of those answering the survey called their financial situation "excellent" or "good."

Gov. Snyder's approval ratings also improved amongst those surveyed, rising to 33 percent compared with 19.3 percent last fall.

- John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

A monthly index of consumer sentiment shows a little improvement for the fourth month in a row. 

The University of Michigan index tracks how people feel about their personal finances, and about the economy. 

Chris Christopher is an economist with I-H-S Global Insight.

"Unemployment has actually fallen a bit," says Christopher.  "Gas prices are down, things are looking a little easier in terms of inflation, so people are feeling a little more confident."