U.S. consumer sentiment went down in May, affected by dismal prospects for wage growth, a survey showed Friday.
The final reading of the consumer sentiment index in the month dropped to 81.9 from a nine-month high of 84.1 in April, according to the monthly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers.
The main concern expressed by consumers involved dismal prospects for wage growth. Paltry wage gains meant that nearly half of all households anticipated declines in inflation-adjusted incomes during the year ahead, said the survey.
The sub-index of current economic conditions, which reflects Americans' perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like houses or cars, dropped from 98.7 in April to 94.5 this month.
Analysts, however, believed the decline of the index in May didn't change the whole picture of consumers' optimism about U.S. future growth, as the May index was still a little bit higher than the average level of 81.7 during the prior four months.
"Consumers anticipate that the economy will post a much improved pace of growth, and more importantly, create more robust jobs growth in the months ahead," said Richard Curtin, director of the survey and economist with the University of Michigan, in a statement. "The small May loss should not detract from the fact that consumer confidence during the first five months of 2014 was higher than any time since 2007."
Curtin reckoned that the data clearly indicate continued strength in consumer spending during the year ahead.
The sub-index gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, kept almost the same as that in April, only declining to 73.7 in May from 74.7 in April.