David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News

Household sentiment was little changed in April from the previous month, holding at an elevated level on optimism about personal finances, University of Michigan survey data showed.

Key Points

• Final April index of sentiment stood at 97 (forecast was 98), after 96.9 in March, and down from a preliminary reading of 98.

• Current conditions gauge, which measures Americans’ perceptions of their personal finances, eased to 112.7 from 113.2 the prior month. The preliminary April reading was 115.2.

• Expectations measure crept up to a three-month high of 87 from a March reading of 86.5; April preliminary index was 86.9.

Big Picture

An improved financial situation was reported by 50% of all respondents in both the March and April surveys, the most in at least 15 years. Americans continue to feel optimistic about a solid job market, with expectations of falling unemployment the most favorable since 1984, and the prospects of growth-boosting legislation.

The university’s expectations measure remained divided along party lines, as 66% of Republicans expected the economy to improve, compared with only 18% among Democrats.

Economist Takeaways

“Consumers are more optimistic about the economy in general, especially independents and Republicans,” Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said on a Bloomberg conference call after the report. “I would expect spending to come back” after a first-quarter slowdown, he said.

Other Details

• Higher home values were cited by 62% of homeowners, the largest share since 2006.

• Consumers saw inflation rate in the next year at 2.5%, unchanged from the prior month.

• Inflation rate over next five to 10 years seen at 2.4%, the same as in March.

By Patricia Laya
Bloomberg News

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