Consumer Sentiment:  A Signal For Unemployment Rate

May 11, 2018
Bottom Line: Consumer sentiment was unchanged in the preliminary reading for May. With the current conditions index down slightly and the expectations component slightly higher, overall sentiment is now just slightly above its 6 month average. The survey noted this month that consumers' expectations for the unemployment rate is a remarkably good predictor of the future unemployment (see chart below) -- and consumers now expect the unemployment rate to stop falling and stabilize around recent levels. Consumer Sentiment was UNCHANGED in early May at 98.8%, compared with market expectations for a decrease to 98.3%. Sentiment is now 1.8% ABOVE its year ago level.
  • Current Conditions FELL by 1.6 points to 113.3%. This is 1.4% ABOVE their year ago level.
  • Consumer Expectations ROSE by 1.1 points to 89.5%. With this month's slight increase, expectations are 2.1% ABOVE its year ago level.
  • 1-year ahead inflation expectations were lower at 2.7%, while 5-year expectations were unchanged at 2.50%