The numbers: A survey of consumer sentiment rose slightly to 63.5 in April and rebounded from a four-month low, but Americans showed more anxiety about high inflation.
The index, produced by the University of Michigan, rose from 62 in March.
The consumer sentiment reveals how Americans feel about their own finances as well as the broader economy. The public has been broadly pessimistic since last summer, largely due to high inflation.
The index had fallen to a record low of 50 last summer before partly rebounding. Sentiment remains well below a recent peak of 88.3 in 2021 and a pre-pandemic high of 101.
Key details: A gauge that measures what consumers think about the current state of the economy climbed to 68.6 from 66.3 in March.
A measure that asks about expectations for the next six months edged up to 60.3 from 59.2 in March.
Both measures are still extremely low by historical standards, however.
Inflation expectations actuall got worse even though the most recent government reports showed easing price pressures.
Consumers expect prices to increase 4.6% in the year ahead, up from 3.6% in the prior month.
“They still expect high inflation to persist, at least in the short run.” said Joanne Hsu, director of the survey.
In the longer run, expectations were unchanged. Americans think inflation will average 2.9% annually in the next five years.
Big picture: Persistent worries about high inflation and the threat of recession have depressed consumer sentiment for the past year.
Attitudes are unlikely to improve much anytime soon.
The economy has slowed due to a sharp increase in interest rates fostered by the Federal Reserve to tackle inflation. And rising stress on U.S. banks could make it harder for consumers and businesses to borrow.
Looking ahead: “Consumer confidence is still incredibly depressed and running at recessionary levels.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
fell in Friday trades after Federal Reserve Gov. Chris Waller said interest rates need to keep rising to squelch high U.S. inflation.