Consumer Sentiment Hits Highest Level Since July 2013
Despite the economy and labor market remaining sluggish at best, consumer sentiment improved to its best level in nine months. According to Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary reading, consumer sentiment jumped to 82.6 in April compared to a final reading of 80.0 in March.
The results were better-than-expected, as consumers feel more confident about their current situations and the future. On average, economists expected the index to reach 81.0 this month. In 2013, consumer sentiment ranged from a low of 73.2 in October to a high of 85.1 in July. If consumer sentiment can manage to keep the positive momentum throughout April, it will be the first gain for the gauge this year.
“Economic news reaching consumers grew more favorable in early April,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. “Net reports on changes in employment were more favorable, and negative mentions about current economic policies eased.”
During the last recession, the index averaged slightly above 64. In the five years before the financial crisis, it averaged almost 90. Consumer sentiment is one of the most popular measures of how Americans rate financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Center questions 500 households each month for the index.