U.S. Consumer Sentiment Drops Slightly Less Than Previously Estimated In May

Consumer sentiment in the U.S. deteriorated slightly less than previously estimated in the month of May, according to revised data released by the University of Michigan on Friday.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for May was upwardly revised to 69.1 from the preliminary reading of 67.4. Economists had expected the index to be unrevised.

Despite the upward revision, the consumer sentiment index still fell sharply from 77.2 in April, slumping to its lowest level since hitting 61.3 last November.

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“Consumers expressed particular concern over labor markets; they expect unemployment rates to rise and income growth to slow. The prospect of continued high interest rates also weighed down consumer views,” said Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.

She added, “These deteriorating expectations suggest that multiple factors pose downside risk for consumer spending.”

The steep drop by the headline index came as the current economic conditions index tumbled to 69.6 in May from 79.0 in April, while the index of consumer expectations dove to 68.8 in May from 76.0 in April.

Meanwhile, the report showed year-ahead inflation expectations increased by much less than previously estimated, inching up to 3.3 percent in May from 3.2 percent in April.

The University of Michigan had previously reported year-ahead inflation expectations jumped to 3.5 percent, although the downwardly revised figure still represents the highest level since hitting 4.5 percent last November.

The revised data also showed long-run inflation expectations held steady at 3.0 percent for the second straight month compared to the previously reported uptick to 3.1 percent.

While long-run inflation expectations have been within the narrow 2.9-3.1 percent range for 30 of the last 34 months, they remain elevated relative to the 2.2-2.6 percent range seen in the two years pre-pandemic.

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