Consumer sentiment plunges to record low in June, UMich survey

The numbers: The University of Michigan’s gauge of consumer sentiment fell sharply to a record low reading of 50.2, down from a May reading of 58.4. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected an June reading of 59.

The level is comparable to the low point reached in the middle of the 1980 recession, U Mich said.

Americans’ expectations for overall inflation over the next year rose to 5.4% in June from 3.3% in May, while expectations for inflation over the next 5 years jumped to 3.3% from 3% in the prior month.

That’s the highest level since 2008, according to Kathy Jones, strategist at Charles Schwab.

Key details: According to the UMich report, a gauge of consumers’ views on current conditions tumbled to 55.4 in June from 63.3 in the prior month, while a barometer of their expectations fell to 46.8 from 55.2.

Big picture: Higher gasoline and overall inflation is weighing on sentiment. The share of consumers citing inflation as the biggest reason for their negative outlooks was the highest since 1981, said economists at Contingent Macro.

What are they saying: “Grim, but spending and sentiment have diverged,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “Sentiment matters to politicians, but spending matters to the economy.”

Market reaction: Stocks

were trading sharply lower on Friday after a sharp rise in consumer prices in May.

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