Press Release
Consumers Expect Higher Household Income Growth and Report Slight Improvement in Credit Availability
October 14, 2014

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released results from its September 2014 Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE)  which provides insight into Americans’ views on inflation, prices, the labor market and household finance. Consumer inflation expectations remained unchanged from August at both the one-year ahead and the three-year ahead horizons. Median household income growth expectations increased to 2.9 percent from 2.5 percent in August, a new 16-month high. Perceptions of current credit availability relative to one year ago improved slightly.

Additional results from September 2014 include:


  • Median inflation expectations at both the one-year and three-year ahead horizons remained stable at 3.0 percent in September. Inflation uncertainty at both horizons declined slightly.
  • Median home price change expectations and home price change uncertainty also showed no change, with the overall median expected home price increase remaining at its lowest level (3.5 percent) since the data series began in June 2013.
  • One-year ahead price change expectations also remained essentially unchanged for all commodities, except gasoline, which saw a slight decline to 4.6 percent.

Labor Market

  • Median earnings growth expectations also remained stable at 2.4 percent, towards the high end of the range observed since January 2014 and about 0.4 percentage points higher than a year ago.
  • The mean perceived probability of losing one’s job in the next 12 months increased to 16.6 percent, returning to levels observed in the first half of 2014. The increase is widespread across most demographic groups. This measure has ranged between 14.6 percent and 17.9 percent since the data series began in June 2013.
  • The mean perceived probability of leaving one’s job voluntarily and of finding a job (if current job were lost) remained essentially unchanged.

Household Finance

  • Median household income growth expectations rose from 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent in September, a new 16-month high. The increase was driven primarily by respondents aged 40-60, those with some college education and consumers with household incomes between $50K and $100K.
  • Median household spending expectations declined slightly to 4.4 percent, reaching the lowest level since the data series began in June 2013.
  • Perceptions of credit availability relative to one year ago improved slightly, but expectations about year-ahead credit availability remained unchanged.

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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