Consumer Sentiment Declined 2.6% in April

Ann Arbor, MI, April 27, 2018-Consumer sentiment fell 2.6% to 98.8 in April from March’s 101.4 rate, according to final results from the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

This represents a 1.9% increase year over year.

“Consumer sentiment improved slightly in the 2nd half of the month, shrinking the small overall decline for April,” according to Survey of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin. “The final April figure was nearly identical to its 2018 average (98.9)-which was higher than any other yearly average since 107.6 was recorded in 2000 (which was, in turn, the highest yearly average in more than a half century). Tax reform and trade policies continue to spark spontaneous, or unaided, comments. The spontaneous comments about the tax reform legislation had a positive balance of opinion, but the trade tariffs generated a negative balance of opinion. The difference in the Expectation Index was striking: positive views on tax reform had Index values 28 points higher than those who made no mention of the tax reform legislation, and negative views on tariffs had Index values that were 28 points lower than those who didn’t spontaneously mention trade. Aside from the offsetting impact of Trump’s tax and tariff policies, the best simple summary of the current state of consumer confidence is that the economy is "as good as it gets." While consumers do not anticipate an economic downturn anytime soon, the long expansion has made consumers (and economists) somewhat apprehensive about future trends. Overall, the data are consistent with a growth rate of 2.7% in real personal consumption in the year ahead.”