Consumer sentiment hits 97.7 in mid-May, riding the ‘Trump bump’

A customer browses goods at a Costco Wholesale store in New York.

Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A customer browses goods at a Costco Wholesale store in New York.

Consumer sentiment climbed to 97.7 in mid-May, riding the so-called Trump bump a little longer, The University of Michigan said on Friday.

Economists were expecting The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index to see a smaller preliminary reading of 97, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

“Consumer sentiment remained on the high plateau established following Trump’s election, with the early May figure nearly identical with the December to May average of 97.4,” Richard Curtin, a chief economist of the group, wrote in a statement.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index finished April with a reading of 97, up from 89 for the same month a year ago.

“The Trump bump was relatively small given that the Sentiment Index averaged 91.8 in the comparable six month period a year ago and 94.5 in the same period two years ago,” Curtin added.

The University of Michigan’s survey of Current Economic Conditions remained unchanged for the month at 112.7, while its Index of Consumer Expectations climbed slightly to 88.1, from 87 in April.

Earlier on Friday, the Commerce Department announced retail sales increased 0.4 percent in April from March. Prior to this, sales had ticked up just 0.1 percent in March and fell in February.

The increase suggests consumers may spur faster growth in the quarter of April through June, after the economy just barely expanded in the first three months of 2017.

This monthly survey by the University of Michigan measures 500 consumers’ attitudes toward topics such as personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.

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