Consumer sentiment in the U.S. unexpectedly held steady in early May, according to a report released by the University of Michigan on Friday.
The report said the preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for May came in at 98.8, unchanged from the final April reading. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 98.5.
The unchanged reading on the headline index came as the current economic conditions index dipped to 113.3 in May from 114.9 in April but the index of consumer expectations rose to 89.5 from 88.4.
Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist, noted that the changes by the indexes were both statistically insignificant.
“What is likely to capture attention, however, are the small uptick in near term inflation expectations, the downward slippage in income expectations, and the expected stabilization of the national unemployment rate at decade lows,” Curtin said.
He added, “The data will thus provide some additional points for both sides in the debate about the timing and number of future interest rate hikes.”
The report said one-year inflation expectations inched up to 2.8 percent in May from 2.7 percent in April, while five-year inflation expectations held at 2.5 percent.