Consumers Expect Higher Earnings and Household Income Growth

December 8th, 2014
in econ_news

from the New York Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released results from its November 2014 Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) which provides insight into Americans’ views on inflation, prices, the labor market and household finance. Consumer inflation expectations have remained virtually unchanged since August 2014. Median earnings growth expectations and median household income growth expectations increased to their highest levels since the inception of the survey in June 2013.

Follow up:

Additional results from November 2014 include:


  • Median inflation expectations at both the one-year and three-year ahead horizons (at 3.0 percent in November) have remained essentially unchanged since August 2014. Inflation uncertainty at both horizons has also remained stable over the past 3 months.
  • Median home price change expectations was steady at 3.7 percent, remaining somewhat below average 2013 and early 2014 levels
  • One-year ahead gasoline price change expectations continued a four-month decline, from 5.1 percent in June to 3.8 percent in November.

Labor Market

  • Median earnings growth expectations jumped to 2.7 percent, its highest level since the inception of the survey in June 2013. These expectations are generally consistent across demographic group except for respondents in the West where they fell to 2.0 percent (from 2.1 percent in October).
  • The mean perceived probability of leaving one’s job voluntarily in the next 12 months increased to 25.8 percent among college graduates (an 18-month high). The overall trend, however, remained stable at 20.7 percent.
  • The mean perceived probability of finding a job in the next three months (conditional on losing one’s job today) continued a shallow four-month decline to about 50 percent.

Household Finance

  • Median household income growth expectations rose from 2.6 percent to 2.9 percent, its highest level since the inception of the survey in June 2013. The increase was driven primarily by respondents from the South and in the 40-60 years old group.
  • Median household spending expectations declined to 4.5% from 4.6% in October, below its 2014 average reading of 4.7%. The decline seems driven primarily by high-income respondents.
  • Expected change in credit availability a year from now or compared to a year ago remained mostly unchanged.
  • The mean expected probability of not being able to make a minimum debt payment in the next three months decreased to an 18-month low of 12.3 percent, driven primarily by individuals over the age of 60.

About the Survey of Consumer Expectations

The SCE contains information about how consumers expect overall inflation and prices for food, gas, housing and education to behave. It also provides insight into Americans’ views about job prospects and earnings growth and their expectations about future spending and access to credit. The SCE also provides measures of uncertainty in expectations for the main outcomes of interest. Expectations are also available by age, geography, income, education and numeracy.

The SCE is a nationally representative, internet-based survey of a rotating panel of approximately 1,200 household heads. Respondents participate in the panel for up to twelve months, with a roughly equal number rotating in and out of the panel each month. Unlike comparable surveys based on repeated cross-sections with a different set of respondents in each wave, our panel allows us to observe the changes in expectations and behavior of the same individuals over time.

The survey is conducted on our behalf by The Demand Institute, a non-profit organization jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen. The sampling frame for the SCE is based on that used for The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey (CCS). Respondents to the CCS, itself based on a representative national sample drawn from mailing addresses, are invited to join the SCE internet panel.

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