Consumer Sentiment fell 2.6 points in March to 98.8, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. Last month’s index was the highest reading since 2004. April’s figure is 1.9% above the April 2017 index.
The Current Economic Conditions Index slowed 6.3 points to 114.9. The reading was 2.0% above the March 2017 estimate. The Consumer Expectations Index fell 0.4 point to 84.4, however it was 1.6% higher than a year ago.
“Consumer sentiment improved slightly in the 2nd half of the month, shrinking the small overall decline for April. The final April figure was nearly identical to its 2018 average (98.9)-which was higher than any other yearly average since 107.6 was recorded in 2000 (which was, in turn, the highest yearly average in more than a half-century),” said Richard Curtin, chief economist of UM Surveys of Consumers. “Tax reform and trade policies continue to spark spontaneous, or unaided, comments. The spontaneous comments about the tax reform legislation had a positive balance of opinion, but the trade tariffs generated a negative balance of opinion. The difference in the Expectation Index was striking: positive views on tax reform had Index values 28 points higher than those who made no mention of the tax reform legislation, and negative views on tariffs had Index values that were 28 points lower than those who didn’t spontaneously mention trade.”
Read the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release.