Consumer sentiment index rose at end of September.

The numbers: Consumer sentiment improved slightly at the end of September, but Americans were unsure about the future of the economy.

The final reading of the sentiment survey rose to 68.1 from 67.7 earlier in the month, the University of Michigan said Friday.

The index had touched a nearly two-year high in July before retreating. Higher gas prices and rising interest rates are pinching households more than they were earlier in the year.

The consumer-sentiment survey reveals how consumers feel about their own finances as well as the broader economy.

Key details: A gauge that measures what consumers think about the current state of the economy rose to 71.4 from 69.8 in early September.

A measurement of expectations for the next six months dipped to 66.0 from a preliminary 66.3.

Americans think inflation will average 3.2% in the next year, down from 3.5% in the prior month.

The official rate of inflation is 3.7%, using the consumer-price index.

Big picture: The economy has avoided a recession because of fairly strong consumer spending and a strong jobs market.

Rising interest rates are exerting more pressure on the economy, but not enough so far to dramatically slow growth.

Looking ahead: “Consumers are understandably unsure about the trajectory of the economy given multiple sources of uncertainty, for example over the possible shutdown of the federal government and labor disputes in the auto industry,” said Joanne Hsu, director of the survey.