WASHINGTON – Optimism about the job market lifted U.S. consumer sentiment in April to its second-highest level since 2007.
The University of Michigan's sentiment index rose to 95.9 from 93 in March. Only January's reading of 98.1 has been higher since 2007, the year the Great Recession began. Over the past five months, sentiment has been, on average, at its highest level since 2004.
Richard Curtin, chief economist of the Michigan survey, attributed the April increase to optimism over consistently low inflation and low interest rates and improving prospects for jobs and incomes.
The index found that consumers expect interest rates to rise from current historically low levels but only modestly. And they expect any economic damage from higher rates to be offset by the benefits of more jobs and incomes.