Consumer Sentiment Posted Slight Decline of 1.2% in April

Ann Arbor, MI, April 26, 2019-Consumer sentiment fell 1.2% to 97.2 in April, from March’s 98.4 rate, according to the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

This represents a 1.6% decline year over year. 

“The Index of Consumer Sentiment has moved sideways, recording only small monthly variations since Trump first entered office,” says Survey of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin. “The Sentiment Index has averaged 97.2 in the past 28 months, identical to the April 2019 reading. Moreover, the Sentiment Index has remained between 95.0 and 99.0 for 21 of the past 28 months. Variations within plus or minus 2.0 percentage points for the Sentiment Index meant that most of the monthly changes were statistically insignificant. The last time consumer sentiment was as favorable for as long a period of time was during the late stages of the Clinton expansion. When asked about their financial prospects for the year ahead, 44% of consumers anticipated improvements compared with just 8% who expected worsening finances. This was the best overall reading since 2004 (see the chart). Moreover, when asked about longer term financial prospects, 60% reported in the April survey that they expected to be better off financially over the next five years. This was the highest proportion ever recorded, although the question was only asked sporadically from 1979 to 1985 and then consistently from 2011 onwards. Overall, the data indicate that inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditures will grow by 2.5% in 2019.”