WASHINGTON (4/28/14)--Consumer sentiment surpassed even the bright expectations economists had forecasted for April, as the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey Index, released Friday, rose to 84.1 from 80 this month, nearly full 2 points higher than most had estimated (Economy.com April 25).
Fueled by consumers' more confident assessments of their current finances and a belief that the upward trend in the economy can be sustained over the next year, the reading is the highest in nine months.
An uptick in hours worked also appears to have bolstered the data, with the average work week inching up to 34.5 hours-per from 34.3.
"Consumers felt better in April than even our optimistic projection would have suggested," wrote Moody's analyst Nate Kelley.
The subcomponent that tracks current economic conditions climbed 3 points in April to 98.7, the highest reading since the economic downturn in 2008. This number also comfortably exceeded expectations.
The economic outlook subindex jumped 4.7 points to 74.7 as well.
Shoppers, meanwhile, believe prices will rise 3.2% over the next 12 months and increase by an average of 2.9% over the next five years; about the same expectations consumers held last month.
Save for any unforeseen circumstances, Moody's analysts expect sentiment to continue this upward march in the coming months.