Final Results for April 2017
|Index of Consumer Sentiment||97.0||96.9||89.0||+0.1%||+9.0%|
|Current Economic Conditions||112.7||113.2||106.7||-0.4%||+5.6%|
|Index of Consumer Expectations||87.0||86.5||77.6||+0.6%||+12.1%|
Next data release: Friday, May 12, 2017 for Preliminary May data at 10am ET
Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin
Consumer sentiment continued to travel along the high plateau established following Trump's election, with only minor deviations from its five month average of 97.4. There was widespread agreement among consumers on their very positive assessments of the current state of the economy as well as widespread disagreement on future economic prospects. Although the partisan divide has slightly narrowed in recent months, it still reflects a very pessimistic economic outlook among Democrats and a very optimistic outlook among Republicans. The partisan divide on the Expectations Index was 51.0 points in April (61.4 vs. 112.4), down from last month's 63.1 (59.4 vs. 122.5), with Republicans moderating their optimism more than Democrats reduced their pessimism. Selective perception of news is the driving force behind the partisan divide. Favorable economic developments were cited by nearly all Republicans in April, while three-quarters of Democrats reported hearing negative news about the economy. It is of some interest to note that the Expectations Index among self-identified Independents, who may be less susceptible to traditional political ideologies, rose to a very favorable 91.3 in April, up from March's 85.8 and well above the pre-election October reading of 73.1. The level of optimism among Independents, who account for 42% of all consumers, points toward continued growth in consumer spending in 2017 at about a 2.5% pace. Nonetheless, the partisan extremes will continue to add uncertainty and instability to consumer spending during the year ahead.