Consumer sentiment holds steady in May as Americans anticipate Fed rate hikes

Finance news

Consumer sentiment was slightly higher than anticipated in the beginning of May, coming in line with revised April results.

The University of Michigan’s Friday report on consumer attitudes about the economy hit 98.8 in a preliminary May reading, higher than the 98.5 expected by a survey of Reuters economists.

Eight out of every 10 consumers surveyed by the University of Michigan expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in the year ahead, according to chief economist Richard Curtin.

“The data will thus provide some additional points for both sides in the debate about the timing and number of future interest rate hikes,” Curtin said.

Curtin went on to explain that consumers “have a remarkable track record” for identifying whether the actual unemployment rate will increase or decrease in the coming years.

The May result found that “fewer consumers anticipated further declines in the unemployment rate,” Curtin said.

The comparable April reading was also revised from 97.8 to 98.8, inline with May’s result.

The survey measures 500 consumers’ attitudes on future economic prospects, in areas such as personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.

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