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Early May Consumer Sentiment Index Falls Sharply to 88.6

Wall Street Journal (05/15/15) Kathleen Madigan

Consumers are taking a dimmer view of the economy than they were last month, according to a new survey. The University of Michigan preliminary May consumer sentiment index declined from a final April reading of 95.9 to 88.6. In January the index stood at an 11-year high of 98.1. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a preliminary May reading of 95.5.

“Confidence fell in early May as consumers became increasingly convinced that there would be no quick and robust rebound following the dismal [first] quarter,” says Richard Curtin, chief economist at Michigan’s Survey of Consumers, which compiles the sentiment index. However, despite the decline in sentiment, consumers remain “optimistic about their future personal finances and have maintained their buying plans at reasonably high levels,” Curtin says. Real consumer spending may grow by 3% this year, the data suggest.