The expectations subindex went down to 88.4 but less than initially estimated (86.8) and compared to 88.8 in March. The gauge of current conditions decreased more to 114.9 from an initial estimate of 115 and 121.2 in March. Inflation expectations for the year ahead eased to 2.7 percent, matching the preliminary figure and below 2.8 percent in the previous month. The 5-year outlook edged up to 2.5 percent, the same as in March but above 2.4 percent in the preliminary estimate.
Tax reform and trade policies continue to spark spontaneous, or unaided, comments. The spontaneous comments about the tax reform legislation had a positive balance of opinion, but the trade tariffs generated a negative balance of opinion. The difference in the Expectation Index was striking: positive views on tax reform had Index values 28 points higher than those who made no mention of the tax reform legislation, and negative views on tariffs had Index values that were 28 points lower than those who didn’t spontaneously mention trade. Aside from the offsetting impact of Trump’s tax and tariff policies, the best simple summary of the current state of consumer confidence is that the economy is "as good as it gets." While consumers do not anticipate an economic downturn anytime soon, the long expansion has made consumers (and economists) somewhat apprehensive about future trends. Overall, the data are consistent with a growth rate of 2.7% in real personal consumption in the year ahead.