US consumer sentiment increased in September, rising from its lowest level in almost a decade, according to data released by the University of Michigan on Friday.

The index of consumer sentiment has increased by 2.5 points to 72.8 in September, up from 70.3 in August when it marked its lowest level since December 2011, according to a survey compiled from around 500 consumers.

The preliminary data released on Sept. 17 expected the index, which rates the relative level of current and future economic conditions, to stand at 71.0.

The index of current economic conditions also rose by 1.6 points to 80.1 in September, from 78.5 the previous month, while its preliminary reading was 77.1.

The index of consumer expectations also increased by 3 points to 68.1, from 65.1, during that period, according to the data. The preliminary data suggested it to come at 67.1.

“Consumer sentiment edged upward in late September, although the overall gain still meant the continuation of depressed optimism, initially sparked by the Delta variant and supported by persistent inflation and unfavorable long-term prospects for the national economy,” Richard Curtin, the chief economist with Surveys of Consumers, said in a statement.

“Even if transient, higher inflation has already decreased living standards, and further damage is anticipated as just 18% of all households anticipated income gains would be larger than the expected inflation rate,” he added.

Curtin noted that the proportion of households who expected to be better off financially in a year fell to 30% in September, marking the lowest level since August 2016, while favorable financial expectations over the next five years fell to 44% in September — the lowest level in seven years.

He added that real income gains were expected by just 18% of all households in September, which was the lowest reading since February 2015.

The preliminary October data for the indices will be released on Oct. 15 by the University of Michigan.

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