May 20, 2022

U.S. consumer sentiment surprisingly rose in the early part of May, following the implementation of stimulus measures to prop up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Data released today by the University of Michigan places their consumer sentiment index at 73.7 for May, an increase of 1.9 on April and massively exceeding the Dow Jones estimate of 65.

The index of current economic conditions also climbed to 83 this month, from 74.3 in April. Consumer expectations weakened though to 67.7, but overall the results show that the stimulus measures are having the desired effect.

“The CARES relief checks improved consumers’ finances and widespread price discounting boosted their buying attitudes,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Surveys of Consumers.

The report comes following the news that the U.S. experienced a drop in retail sales larger than any seen in history. U.S. retail sales fell by 16.4% last month, by far the biggest ever drop.

More than 4 million cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, with over 1.4 million in the U.S. alone. The spread of the virus shows no sign of slowing, and policymakers and analysts alike have warned that stimulus measures cannot continue indefinitely.