Consumer Sentiment Picked Up in Early May
Americans’ view of the economy improved in early May, as the novel coronavirus pandemic continued to spread, according to a University of Michigan survey released Friday.
The survey’s index of consumer sentiment rose to 73.7 in the three weeks ending May 13, from 71.8 for the previous four weeks. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a reading of 65.0.
The index’s resurgence reflected a mixed outlook among U.S. consumers, said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.
“Improved views on buying conditions were due to discounted prices and low interest rates, although their impact was partially offset by uncertainties about job and income prospects,” he said. However, Mr. Curtin said the expectations index “still indicates that no economic restoration is as yet anticipated by consumers.”
The expectations index–which reflects the balance of respondents anticipating improved business conditions six months from now–fell to 67.7, from 70.1 in April. However, the index of current conditions jumped 8.7 points to 83.0, following the 29.4-point drop between March and April.
The survey was conducted between April 22 and May 13. During that time, nearly 30 states started lifting some restrictions on businesses. Americans filed around 11 million applications for unemployment insurance benefits over that three-week period.
Source: Dow Jones