Consumer Sentiment Slid 9.1% in Early May, Driven by Debt Crisis Standoff

Ann Arbor, MI, May 12, 2023-Consumer sentiment slid 9.1% in early May, according to preliminary results from the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

This represents a 1.2% decline year over year. 

“Consumer sentiment tumbled 9% amid renewed concerns about the trajectory of the economy, erasing over half of the gains achieved after the all-time historic low from last June,” says Surey of Consumers director Joanne Hsu. “While current incoming macroeconomic data show no sign of recession, consumers’ worries about the economy escalated in May alongside the proliferation of negative news about the economy, including the debt crisis standoff. Year-ahead expectations for the economy plummeted 23% from last month. Long-run expectations slid by 16% as well, indicating that consumers are worried that any economic downturn will not be brief. Throughout the current inflationary episode, consumers have shown resilience under strong labor markets, but their anticipation of a recession will lead them to pull back when signs of weakness emerge. If policymakers fail to resolve the debt ceiling crisis, these dismal views over the economy will exacerbate the dire economic consequences of default. 

“Year-ahead inflation expectations receded slightly to 4.5% in May after spiking to 4.6% in April. After two years of relative stability, long-run inflation expectations rose to their highest reading since 2011, lifting from 3.0% last month to 3.2% this month.”