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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Regains Pre-Recession Levels
by Carol Stone  May 25, 2012

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment for rose further in its Final May reading to 79.3 (Q1 1966 = 100) from 77.8 in mid-month and 76.4 in April. This put it at the highest level since October 2007, before the recent recession began. Forecasters had looked for a continuation at the mid-month 77.8 level, so the actual is noticeably better both in an absolute sense and compared to expectations. Interestingly, the reading on current economic conditions, which had driven the gain in the early-month move, eased a bit in the final read, standing at 87.2, down a tick from the 87.3 before, although still up nicely from 82.9 in April. In contrast, the consumer expectations index, which had dipped to 71.7 in mid-May, rebounded to 74.3 in the final report, its highest since July 2007.

The Reuters/University of Michigan survey data are not seasonally adjusted. The readings are based on telephone interviews with over 300 households. Data can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is from Action Economics and is found in Haver's AS1REPNA database.

University of Michigan
(Q1'66 = 100)
May Final Mid-May Apr Mar May
Y/Y %
2011 2010 2009
Consumer Sentiment 79.3 77.8 76.4 76.2 6.7 67.3 71.8 66.3
Current Economic Conditions 87.2 87.3 82.9 86.0 6.5 79.1 80.9 69.6
Consumer Expectations 74.3 71.7 72.3 69.8 6.9 59.8 66.0 64.1
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