U.S. Consumer Sentiment Slumps Much More Than Expected In May

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Reflecting broad based declines, the University of Michigan released a preliminary report on Friday showing U.S. consumer sentiment has deteriorated by much more than expected in the month of May.

The report showed the consumer sentiment index tumbled to 59.1 in May from 65.2 in April. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 64.0.

With the much bigger than expected decrease, the consumer sentiment index slumped to its lowest level since hitting 55.8 in August of 2011.

"These declines were broad based--for current economic conditions as well as consumer expectations, and visible across income, age, education, geography, and political affiliation--continuing the general downward trend in sentiment over the past year," said new Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.

The report showed the current economic conditions index slid to 63.6 in May from 69.4 in April, dropping to its lowest level since hitting 63.3 in March of 2009. The index of consumer expectations also tumbled to 56.3 in May from 62.5 in April.

With regard to inflation, one-year and five-year inflation expectations remained unchanged at 5.4 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

"The median expected year-ahead inflation rate was 5.4%, little changed over the last three months, and up from 4.6% in May 2021," said Hsu. "The mean was considerably higher at 7.4%, reflecting substantial variation in price changes across types of goods and services, and in household spending patterns."

She added, "At the same time, long term inflation expectations remain well-anchored with a median of 3.0%, settling within the 2.9 to 3.1% range seen over the last 10 months."

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