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UM consumer sentiment index drops in May

Customers shop at a store in New York, the United States, May 11, 2022. U.S. consumer inflation in April surged by 8.3 percent from a year ago. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

Anticipated wage gains edged down slightly from April to an average of 1.8 percent overall, with those under 45 expecting a one-year gain in income of 4.6 percent.

CHICAGO, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The Consumer Sentiment Index released Friday by the University of Michigan (UM) Surveys of Consumers fell to 58.4 in the May 2022 survey, down from 65.2 in April and below last May's 82.9.

The Expectations Index fell to 63.3, down from 69.4 in April and below last May's 89.4. The Current Conditions Index fell to 55.2, down from 62.5 in April and below last May's 78.8.

Most of this decline was concentrated in expectations for the economy, with the year-ahead outlook dropping 25.8 percent and the five-year outlook falling 14.3 percent, said UM economist Joanne Hsu, director of the surveys.

Furthermore, consumers continued to express negative views on current buying conditions for houses and durables, primarily due to inflation concerns.

While consumers expressed continued pessimism over business prospects, they were less downbeat about future prospects for their personal finances. Less than one quarter of consumers expected to be worse off financially a year from now. Looking into the long term, 52 percent of consumers expected their financial situation to improve over the next five years.

Anticipated wage gains edged down slightly from April to an average of 1.8 percent overall, with those under 45 expecting a one-year gain in income of 4.6 percent.

Inflation was cited as the main factor for declining living standards over the past year by 38 percent of all households, a frequency not seen since 2008. While consumers generally anticipated wage gains over the coming year, about 49 percent of consumers overall expected their incomes to rise less than prices in the next year.

The Surveys of Consumers is a rotating panel survey based on a nationally representative sample that gives each household in the coterminous United States an equal probability of being selected. Interviews are conducted throughout the month by telephone. ■