U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves More Than Initially Estimated In April

Revised data released by the University of Michigan on Friday showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved by more than initially estimated in the month of April.

The report showed the consumer sentiment index for April was upwardly revised to 88.3 from a preliminary reading of 86.5. Economists had expected the index to be upwardly revised to 87.5.

The consumer sentiment index rose from 84.9 in March to reach its highest level since hitting 89.1 in March of 2020.

“The April survey recorded continued gains in consumer confidence due to a growing sense that the upward momentum in jobs and incomes will persist,” said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.

He added, “The renewed confidence is due to record federal stimulus spending, both recently passed and proposed, as well as the positive impact from a growing share of the population who are vaccinated.”

The report showed the current economic conditions index climbed to 97.2 in April from 93.0 in March, while the index of consumer expectations rose to 82.7 from 79.7.

On the inflation front, one-year inflation expectations jumped to 3.4 percent in April from 3.1 percent in March, but five-year inflation expectations dipped to 2.7 percent from 2.8 percent.

“While temporary price hikes are anticipated, the robust increases in consumer demand will act to lengthen and heighten inflation above the modest increases now anticipated,” said Curtin.

He added, “It will be a challenge to fine-tune fiscal and monetary policies that allow inflation to modestly exceed the 2% target for a limited time without contributing to an underlying upward momentum in inflation.”

On Tuesday, the Conference Board released a separate report showing U.S. consumer confidence reached its highest level since February of 2020 in the month of April.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped to 121.7 in April after spiking to a revised 109.0 in March.

Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to rise to 112.0 from the 109.7 originally reported for the previous month.

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