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Wage growth stifles consumer sentiment
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (5/19/14)--Worried about stagnant incomes, consumers responded unfavorably when asked about the U.S. economy, according the preliminary May numbers from the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.
 
The preliminary reading on overall consumer sentiment dropped 2.3 points to 81.8 from April's nine-month high of 84.1.
 
"The main concern behind the small May loss involved dispiriting trends in wages," said survey director Richard Curtin ( MarketWatch May 16).  
 
Year-over-year, average hourly wages increased only 1.9% in April according to Labor Department numbers from last week. Add rising food and gas prices, and consumer budgets are spread thin.
 
It also fell below the 84.5 mark that was expected in a Reuters' survey of economists. Moody's analysts said the reading was "somewhat of a surprise" considering recent encouraging data ( Economy.com May 16).
 
Fifty-eight percent--up from April's 49%--of consumers reported that the economy had improved, but the level of consumers' expectations lowered to 73.2 from 74.7.


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