The Survey of Consumers, a closely-watched gauge of consumer sentiment, rose from the preliminary to 97.2 in April, slightly beating the consensus forecast. The preliminary reading came in at 96.9 earlier this month.
|Index (April)||Prelim||Prior||Consensus||Forecast Range||Actual|
|Consumer Sentiment Index||96.9||96.9||97.1||96.9 — 97.7||97.2|
|Current Economic Conditions||114.2||113.3||—||—||112.3|
|Index of Consumer Expectations||85.8||88.8||—||—||87.4|
“The Index of Consumer Sentiment has moved sideways, recording only small monthly variations since Trump first entered office,” Richard Curtain, chief economist for the Survey of Consumers, said. “The Sentiment Index has averaged 97.2 in the past 28 months, identical to the April 2019 reading.”
The Consumer Sentiment Index has remained between 95.0 and 99.0 for 21 of the past 28 months, with +/- 2.0 variations that were statistically insignificant.
Mr. Curtain also noted consumer sentiment has not been this favorable for this long since the late stages of the expansion during the second half of the Clinton Administration.
The Current Economic Conditions Index came in at 112.3, down from the 113.3 in March and the preliminary reading of 114.2. The Index for Consumer Expectations came in at 87.4, down from the reading of 88.8 in March but higher than the preliminary 85.8.
“When asked about their financial prospects for the year ahead, 44% of consumers anticipated improvements compared with just 8% who expected worsening finances,” Mr. Curtain added. “This was the best overall reading since 2004.”
In April, a record high percentage reported they expected to be better off financially over the next five years, at 60%. Worth noting, the question was asked sporadically from 1979 to 1985 and then consistently from 2011 to present.
Survey of Consumers data overall point to inflation-adjusted consumer spending (personal consumption expenditures/PCE) will grow by 2.5% in 2019.