Consumer Sentiment Hits Nine-Month High In April

Consumer sentiment continued to improve throughout April, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, which released its latest data April 25. The Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 84.1, its second highest reading since 2007 and a gain from 80 in the final March reading. The sentiment index stands 10.1% higher than at this time last year. The Consumer Expectations Index also posted a strong gain.

“The recent gain was due to much more positive assessment of consumers’ current financial situation as well as renewed optimism about the outlook for the national economy during the year ahead,” according to the research group’s monthly press release. Those surveyed were also slightly more optimistic about the labor market.

But Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin cautioned that a continuation of the positive trend is based on consumers’ long-term economic expectations. “While near-term expectations have improved substantially, longer term expectations for personal finances as well as the national economy have remained unchanged from a year ago,” he said. A continuation of positive news on jobs and the economy could begin to correct that longer-term caution.

The Consumer Confidence Index maintained by The Conference Board was scheduled for release April 29, after we closed this issue.

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