Consumer Confidence Slips In April As Concerns Grow

Consumer sentiment declined in April, reports the University of Michigan’s (U-M) Surveys of Consumers, although consumers’ views of current finances remain positive. The Index of Consumer Sentiment’s 2.2 percent decline from March is attributed to weakened expectations for future economic growth.

U-M’s study found that the top concerns among consumers involve whether the anticipated slowdown in economic growth will lead to slower income and job gains, and the rise in uncertainty about future economic policies depending on the outcome of the election. Consumers have hedged these concerns by increasing their savings in the first quarter in each of the past three years. Overall, the data indicate that real consumption will grow by 2.5 percent in 2016.

“The retreat from the 2015 peaks was evident across a wide range of expectations about prospects for the national economy,” says Richard Curtin, chief economist for Surveys of Consumers. “The size of the decline, while troublesome, is still far short of indicating an impending recession. The decline is all the more remarkable given that consumers’ assessments of current economic conditions, including their personal finances, have remained largely unchanged at very positive levels during the past year. This divergence may reflect the strength of the consumer relative to the business sectors, and may be exacerbated by growing uncertainty about the economic policies advocated by various presidential candidates.”

Since 1946, the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) has conducted the surveys to monitor consumer attitudes and expectations. Click here for more on U-M’s findings.

filed under industry-news | may-2016
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