While Ebola is certainly scaring the nation, it does not appear to be hurting the economy at the moment. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment rose in early October to the highest level that it’s seen since July of 2007.
As David Berson, an economist at Nationwide Mutual Insurance in Columbus, Ohio, said, “The underlying strength of the U.S. economy remains intact. If it were not for Ebola and geopolitical concerns, these (sentiment) numbers would be higher.”
Measures of consumer confidence simply haven’t shown the worry or alarm that has been expected. Economists polled by Reuters who expected a drop found instead that the sentiment index ticked two tenths of a point higher to 86.4. Gallup’s daily poll of economic sentiment has also been stable in recent weeks.
As Kris Dawsey, a Goldman Sachs analyst said, “Despite rising media coverage, Ebola seems to have had little discernible effect on consumer sentiment to date.”