Consumer Sentiment Flat in Early May

Ann Arbor, NC, May 11, 2018-Consumer sentiment was flat at 98.8 in early May, according to preliminary results from the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

This represents a 1.8% increase year over year.

“Consumer sentiment remained unchanged in early May from the April survey,” said Survey of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin. “The Expectations Index gained 1.1 points and the Current Conditions Index fell 1.6 points-both were statistically insignificant changes. What is likely to capture attention, however, are the small uptick in near term inflation expectations, the downward slippage in income expectations, and the expected stabilization of the national unemployment rate at decade lows. The data will thus provide some additional points for both sides in the debate about the timing and number of future interest rate hikes. Eight-in-ten consumers anticipated interest rate hikes during the year ahead, and fewer consumers anticipated further declines in the unemployment rate--although all of the shift was toward the expectation of a stable unemployment rate rather than an increased rate. Consumers have a remarkable track record for anticipating changes in the actual unemployment rate, as shown in the accompanying chart. Overall, the data are consistent with a growth rate of 2.7% in real personal consumption from the second half of 2018 to first half of 2019.”