Press Release
New York Fed Survey Provides Insight into Americans’ Views on Economic Issues
January 13, 2014

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today launched its monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), which contains insight into Americans’ views on inflation, prices, the labor market and household finances.  The just released survey for December 2013 shows that consumer expectations for overall inflation and home prices remained stable in recent months.  Median earnings and household income growth expectations have remained steady and perceptions of credit access have improved slightly.

A series of interactive charts depicting survey results is available in the Center for Microeconomic Data on the New York Fed’s website.  Other findings from the survey include:

Inflation

  • Expectations of overall inflation have remained stable in recent months, at both the short and medium term horizon. The median expected year-ahead rate of inflation was 3.1 percent in December
  • Uncertainty about future inflation has been stable at both horizons over the past few months
  • The median expected rate of house price growth was 3.9 percent in December, with little change in uncertainty
  • Expectations for gas prices in December were at the low end of the recent range in median expected changes, while those for medical care increased somewhat in the last two months

Labor Market

  • Consumers expect a 22 percent mean probability of leaving a job voluntarily and a 17 percent probability of losing a job over the next 12 months
  • The mean probability of finding a job in three months, if one were to lose their job today, remained steady at 46 percent
  • Expectations of changing a primary residence in the next year have remained flat at around 20 percent

Household Finance

  • Household income growth expectations have remained flat at around 2 percent. Expectations for household spending growth have also been steady, varying between 4.7 percent and 5 percent
  • Perceptions of current credit access relative to a year ago and future credit access relative to today have improved in the last month, reversing a modest deterioration from September to November
  • The mean likelihood of not being able to make a minimum debt payment in the next three months was at 14.9 percent, down from 17.2 percent in September

Going forward, survey results are scheduled for release at 11 a.m. EST on the second Monday of each month. Expectations are also available by age, income, education, numeracy and geography.

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.

Media Contact:
Matthew Ward
(212) 720-6885
matthew.ward@ny.frb.org