- The University of Michigan’s consumer-sentiment index gained to 73.7 in May from 71.8 in April according to preliminary data released Friday.
- The slight increase was boosted by the current economic conditions index, which jumped to 83 in May from 74.3 in April as coronavirus relief helped consumers.
- The index surged “as the CARES relief checks improved consumers’ finances and widespread price discounting boosted their buying attitudes,” Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers chief economist, said in a statement.
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US consumer sentiment rose in May as coronavirus relief helped American households in the short term.
The University of Michigan’s consumer-sentiment index gained to 73.7 in May from 71.8 in April according to preliminary data released Friday. The increase was led by a nearly 10-point jump in the current economic conditions index, to 83 in May from 74.3 in April.
The index surged “as the CARES relief checks improved consumers’ finances and widespread price discounting boosted their buying attitudes,” Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers chief economist, said in a statement.
The report is the latest to show the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and sweeping lockdowns to curb the disease on the US economy. While some states are slowly starting to reopen, sparking hope that a recovery will soon be underway, dismal data continues to pour in — US retail sales for April fell 16.4%, the second month in a row of a record slump, according to data released Friday.
The Friday survey so far indicates consumers do not feel good about their future prospects. The index of consumer expectations fell to 67.7 from 70.1 in April, and personal financial prospects for the year ahead fell to the lowest level in almost six years, according to the report.
Even though some states have begun to slowly reopen, sparking hopes that a recovery from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic will begin soon, consumers are not so sure.
“The Expectations Index still indicates that no economic restoration is as yet anticipated by consumers,” said Curtin.
Concerns about social isolation also jumped in April from the previous month — to 21% from 14%. It’s now cited as the top concern, overtaking damages to finances, which led the survey in May.
The shifts “indicate the growing costs of social isolation and its potential to shift opinions about reopening the economy,” Curtain said.
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