Final Results for May 2016
May Apr May M-M Y-Y
2016 2016 2015 Change Change
Index of Consumer Sentiment 94.7 89.0 90.7 +6.4% +4.4%
Current Economic Conditions 109.9 106.7 100.8 +3.0% +9.0%
Index of Consumer Expectations 84.9 77.6 84.2 +9.4% +0.8%
Next data release: June 10, 2016 for Preliminary June data at 10am ET
Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin
Consumers were a bit less optimistic in late May than earlier in the month, but sentiment was still substantially higher than last month. Indeed, there have only been four prior months since the January 2007 peak in which the Sentiment Index was higher than in May 2016, all recorded at the start of 2015. Despite the meager GDP growth as well as a higher inflation rate, consumers became more optimistic about their financial prospects and anticipated a somewhat lower inflation rate in the years ahead. Positive views toward vehicle and home sales also posted gains in May largely due to low interest rates. The biggest uncertainty consumers see on the horizon is not whether the Fed will hike interest rates in the next few months, but the outlook for future government economic policies under a new president. This has increased their emphasis on maintaining precautionary savings, although the savings rate is not expected to increase much beyond its current level. Although small stock gains are anticipated, household wealth is more likely to benefit from rising home prices, with gains now more frequent than in a decade. Overall, the data indicate that inflation-adjusted consumer expenditures can be expected to rise by 2.5% in 2016 and 2.7% in 2017.