Household sentiment was little changed in April from the previous month, holding at an elevated level on optimism about personal finances, University of Michigan survey data showed.
• Final April index of sentiment stood at 97 (forecast was 98), after 96.9 in March, and down from a preliminary reading of 98.
• Current conditions gauge, which measures Americans’ perceptions of their personal finances, eased to 112.7 from 113.2 the prior month. The preliminary April reading was 115.2.
• Expectations measure crept up to a three-month high of 87 from a March reading of 86.5; April preliminary index was 86.9.
An improved financial situation was reported by 50% of all respondents in the March and April surveys, the most in at least 15 years. Americans continue to feel optimistic about a solid job market, with expectations of falling unemployment the most favorable since 1984, and the prospects of growth-boosting legislation.
The university’s expectations measure remained divided along party lines, as 66% of Republicans expected the economy to improve, compared with only 18% among Democrats.
“Consumers are more optimistic about the economy in general, especially independents and Republicans,” Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said on a Bloomberg conference call after the report. “I would expect spending to come back” after a first-quarter slowdown, he said.
• Higher home values were cited by 62% of homeowners, the largest share since 2006.
• Consumers saw inflation rate in the next year at 2.5%, unchanged from the prior month.
• Inflation rate over the next five to 10 years was seen at 2.4%, the same as in March.