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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Down: Expectations Eased Further
by Tom Moeller April 29, 2005

The University of Michigan's reading of consumer sentiment for all of April fell 5.3% from March to 87.7. The decline contrasted to Consensus expectations for a slightly firmer reading of 89.0.

Sentiment has fallen in each of the last four months and is off 15.5% from the January '04 peak. During the last ten years there has been a 75% (inverse) correlation between the level of consumer sentiment and the unemployment rate.

Consumer expectations added to the decline earlier in the month and dropped 7.0%, down for the fourth straight month. The expected change in real family income fell 12.2% to the lowest level since 1991. More unemployment was expected by the highest percentage since late 2003 and price inflation was expected to quicken.

The reading of current economic conditions fell 3.3%, a slight improvement from the mid-month reading.

The University of Michigan survey is not seasonally adjusted.The mid-month survey is based on telephone interviews with 250 households nationwide on personal finances and business and buying conditions. The survey is expanded to a total of 500 interviews at month end.

University of Michigan April Mar Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Consumer Sentiment 87.7 92.6 -6.9% 95.2 87.6 89.6
   Current Conditions 104.4 108.0 -0.6% 105.6 97.2 97.5
   Consumer Expectations 77.0 82.8 -11.8% 88.5 81.4 84.6
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