Consumer Sentiment Falls as Public's Faith in Obama Stays Low

Friday, 30 Apr 2010 11:56 AM


U.S. consumer sentiment fell in April from the month before, but beat expectations, as consumers viewed the economic recovery as well under way but painfully slow.

At 72.2, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers' final April reading on the overall index on consumer sentiments also was above the preliminary reading of 69.5 for the month, which was the lowest in five months.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a sentiment reading of 71 for April. The reading was 73.6 in March.

"Confidence in the economic policies and legislation promoted by the Obama administration remained at low levels, although confidence did record a small rebound in late April," Richard Curtin, director of the surveys, said in a statement.

Consumer sentiment is seen as a proxy for consumer spending that fuels 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

The sentiment report was released hours before President Barack Obama claimed that a separate new report on economic growth shows the nation is moving in the right direction. He called it "an important milepost on the road to recovery."

Obama hailed the report Friday showing that the economy grew at a 3.2 percent pace during the first quarter of the year. He says the nation's economic heartbeat is strong, but more jobs are needed.

The GDP report marked the nation's third straight quarterly gain.

Meanwhile, the surveys' gauge of current economic conditions slipped to 81.0 at the end of April from 82.4 in March. That reading was below 82.0 forecast by analysts, but above 80.7 recorded in early April.

The barometer of consumer expectations also declined in April. It came in at 66.5 in April versus 67.9 in March. It was also short of the 67 level predicted by analysts.

When consumers were asked to identify news of recent economic developments, one in five said they had heard negative information about government programs, twice as high as a year ago.

Forty percent rated policies unfavorably, which is still well above a low of 22 percent last May, according to the statement.

The index of consumers' 12-month economic outlook rose to 80 from 78 in March.

Also, the survey's 1-year inflation expectation index rose to 2.9 in April from 2.7 percent in March, while the five-to-10-year inflation measure held steady at 2.7 in April.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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