Consumer sentiment rose in the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final survey in April to a nine-month high, beating Wall Street’s expectations. But tracker data from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports show very different consumer environments.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment measured in at 84.1, above expectations of 83.0 and up from 80.0 the month before. The preliminary April reading was 82.6, but views on current and near-term conditions skyrocketed, according to the survey released Friday.
While the closely-watched headline number was the highest reading since July of 2013, the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, fell three points on Friday to 101.4. Consumer confidence is down a point from both one week ago and a month ago, and is unchanged from three months ago.
Similarly, the Gallup measurement that tracks consumer spending on a 3-day rolling average tanked from from $82 to $72, while the 14-day rolling average is down 5 to from $90 to $85. For both Gallup and Rasmussen, the trends so little sign of improvement over the last quarter, and Gallup has been roughly flat since July.
“Perhaps the more important question is whether consumer confidence will show greater resistance to the backslides that have repeatedly occurred in the past few years,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. He finds no disturbing data in the short-term, both going forward or looking at the last quarter.
“Resilience is dependent on positive, long-term economic expectations. While near term expectations have improved substantially, longer term expectations for personal finances as well as the overall economy have not improved as much.”
The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions rose to 98.7, which is its highest reading since July of 2007 and up from 95.7 in March. It beat expectations of 97.2, and the preliminary reading measured in at 97.1.
The survey’s gauge of consumer expectations rose to 74.7 in April from 70.0 in March and also beat the expected 73.7, and the preliminary reading for this month, which came in at 73.3.
Both the 1-year inflation expectation five-to-10-year outlook were unchanged from their March readings. A 3.2 percent reading in the 1-year came in just a bit above the 3.1 percent preliminary April reading, while the survey’s 5-to-10-year inflation outlook was also unchanged from last month at 2.9 percent. The 5-to-10-year came in at 3.0 in the preliminary report.
However, despite the positive outlook, food prices alone sharply increased by 1.1 percent in a report earlier this month, which was the largest increase since May.