Consumer Sentiment Hits Lowest Level Since 2011

Consumers cited inflation as their No. 1 concern.

Senior ETF Analyst
Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
Edited by: Sumit Roy

Consumers haven’t felt this bad about the economy and their personal finances since 2011, according to the latest reading of the University of Michigan Sentiment index. The index dropped from 65.2 to 59.1 in May, reaching the lowest level since the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and the bottom of the housing market more than a decade ago. 

The survey showed that most consumers, or 36%, were feeling sour because of high inflation. Consumers expect inflation to average 5.4% over the next year, up from 4.6% a year ago.  

The poor showing for sentiment came as no surprise to markets, which had been grappling with inflation concerns of their own.  

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that consumer prices in the U.S. had risen by 8.3% year over year in April, down from 8.5% in March, but still much too high for comfort. Following the release of the figures, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) dropped by 1.6%. 


University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index 


On the plus side, consumers seem to be attributing the current levels of inflation to temporary factors. The University of Michigan Sentiment survey indicated that long-term inflation expectations were 3%, similar to the expectations consumers had a year ago. 

That also matches the 2.7% inflation rate that Treasury bond markets are pricing over the next 10 years.  

Though little solace in the current environment, the data should give policymakers, including the Fed, confidence that inflation expectations haven’t run away to the upside.  


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Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays,’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.