Consumer confidence jumped significantly in May, according to the Survey of Consumers from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. The consumer sentiment index rose from 76.4 in April to 79.3 in May. This continues a nine-month trend of improvements in attitudes since last August.
The increase was largely due to a sharp increase in Americans’ perceptions about the current economic environment. This suggests that lower energy prices are helping to lift these figures. For instance, inflationary expectations continue to ease, with respondents now expecting 3.1 percent price increases over the next year. This is down from 3.9 percent in March.
Meanwhile, consumer opinions about future economic growth ebbed slightly, from 72.3 to 71.7. Nonetheless, individuals remain more confident about future conditions than they did last year, mirroring the longer-term upward trend.
Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.