Foodservice Equipment Reports

Consumer Sentiment Hits Highest Point Since October 2007

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index reached 79.3 in the final April reading released May 25, its ninth consecutive monthly gain. It was the highest point for the widely followed index since October 2007. The U.M. Surveys of Consumers also reported increases in the Expectations and Current Situation Indexes. All three indices are running 6.5% to 6.9% ahead of April last year.

More favorable job and wage prospects helped fuel the improved outlook, according to the press release reporting the numbers. In his monthly commentary, the research organization’s Chief Economist Richard Curtin expressed hope that the “upbeat consumer reports on jobs could mean that more positive numbers will soon be reported by the government.” But he said it could also be that consumers “have yet again pushed their expectations beyond the likely performance of the economy.” He added that the most likely prospect is for modest jobs growth in the coming months and “that confidence remains largely unchanged until after the November election.”

Meanwhile, the more volatile Consumer Confidence Index maintained by The Conference Board fell very slightly in the April survey, following a similar moderate decline in March. One reason for the disparity with the U.M. survey may be that The Conference Board survey closes earlier in the month, on April 12 for the current report. The U.M. Sentiment Index rose a point and a half from its mid-May reading of 77.8, released May 11.

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