By Xavier Fontdegloria

 

Sentiment among U.S. consumers fell at the beginning of May, reversing the rebound seen in April, as both the assessment of the current state of the economy and short-term expectations deteriorated amid decades-high inflation.

The preliminary estimate of the consumer sentiment index published Friday by the University of Michigan decreased to 59.1 in May from 65.2 in April, missing the 64.1 consensus forecast from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

The deterioration in consumer sentiment reverses the improvement registered in April, which came after three consecutive months of drops as inflation has weighed on moods over the last year.

U.S. consumer sentiment remains at its lowest reading since 2011, and well below prepandemic levels.

Declines in May were broad-based and visible across income, age, education, geography and political affiliation, continuing the general downward trend in sentiment over the past year, said Joanne Hsu, the survey's director.

The index measuring Americans' assessment of the current economic conditions declined to 63.6 in May from 69.4 in April, falling to the lowest level since 2013.

Buying conditions for durable goods reached its lowest reading since the question began appearing on the survey in 1978, primarily due to high prices, Ms. Hsu said.

Americans' inflation expectations were unchanged in May compared with April. Consumers expect prices to increase 5.4% in the next year, while they anticipate a 3% rise in the next five years.

The index measuring short-term expectations, which reflects the balance of respondents anticipating improved business conditions in the next six months, fell to 56.3 in May from 62.5 in April.

The survey's final reading will be published on May 27.

 

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 13, 2022 10:35 ET (14:35 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.