If it’s any sign the recovery is slowing, news coverage of the economy isn’t a rosy as it used to be.
The Dow Jones “Economic Sentiment Indicator,” which aims to predict the health of the U.S. economy by analysing the coverage of major daily newspapers, fell for the first time in seven months.
It declined to 34.1 in September as media coverage of a higher unemployment rate, continued weakness in the housing market and generally mixed economic news outpaced that of limited positive economic news for the month. The ESI was 35.5 in August, its highest level in a year.
“While the ESI’s drop could be an early indication of the double dip some economists have been warning about, any sentiment data can be expected to show some random volatility,” said Dow Jones Newswires ‘Money Talks’ columnist Alen Mattich. “However, the Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator has previously proved much less volatile than other sentiment indicators. The fall in September still leaves it above the level for July.”
Other consumer indicators have been volatile in recent months. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index unexpectedly shot to 73.5 in September after two months of unanticipated declines; The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index was expected to rise in September, but fell to 53.1.
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