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Consumer sentiment hits ten-year low amid high prices, UMich survey finds

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 5/13/2022 Chris Matthews
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ECONOMIC REPORT

The numbers: The University of Michigan’s gauge of consumer sentiment fell to 59.1 in May from a final April reading of 65.2, its lowest level in more than 10 years.


Video: US Consumer Prices Rise More Than Forecast (Bloomberg)

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Economists were expecting a print of 64.1, according to a Wall Street Journal poll.

Americans’ expectations for overall inflation over the next year fell held steady at 5.4% in April, while expectations for inflation over the next 5 years remained at 3%.

Big picture: Rising prices continue to weigh on U.S. consumers views on the economy, with expectations for year-ahead inflation remaining at levels not seen in more than 40 years.

The decline in consumer attitudes from April “were broad based” and “visible across income, age, education geography and political affiliation” according to Joanne Hsu, director of the survey.

“Consumers’ assessment of their current financial situation relative to a year ago is at its lowest reading since 2013, with 36% of consumers attributing their negative assessment to inflation,” Hsu added. “Buying conditions for durables reached its lowest reading since the question began appearing on the monthly surveys in 1978, again primarily due to high prices.”

Key details: A gauge of consumer’s views of current conditions fell to 63.6 in May from 69.4 in April, while an indicator of expectations for the next six months declined to 56.3 from 62.5 in the previous month.

Market reaction: U.S. stocks were trading higher Friday morning.

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