Consumer Sentiment Steady in April

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The Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment for April is a couple of ticks higher than it was in March and 9.5% higher than it was in April 2011. The index reading for April is 76.4, up from 76.2 in March. The report suggests that US consumers believe that jobs will become more plentiful even though recent evidence is not building a lot of confidence.

The report also notes what consumers expect:

The revival of confidence critically depends on the two economic events that consumers still expect to happen: that jobs will become more plentiful and that gasoline prices will continue to edge downward. Both are widely expected by consumers, and these expectations are anchored well enough to withstand temporary disappointments.

There are some gloomy observations as well:

Just one-in-four households anticipated an improved financial situation during the year ahead, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since the start of 2012. This dismal outlook was due to the absence of anticipated income increases in the year ahead, expected by the majority for an unprecedented 40 consecutive months.

But Americans remain hopeful. The expectations portion of the index gained 17.4% year-over-year, while the current conditions portion of the index remained nearly flat, up just 0.5%.

The report is available here.