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US consumer sentiment unchanged in May

Consumer sentiment in the U.S. was unchanged in May from last month, but consumers are expecting the unemployment rate to stabilize, according to initial data from the University of Michigan survey.

The index of consumer sentiment was flat at 98.8 in May. The index of consumer expectations edged up 1.2% to 89.5 from 88.4, while the current economic conditions index fell 1.4% to 113.3 from 113.9.

"[F]ewer consumers anticipated further declines in the unemployment rate although all of the shift was toward the expectation of a stable unemployment rate rather than an increased rate," said Richard Curtin, Survey of Consumers chief economist.

Curtin added that eight in 10 consumers are expecting interest rate hikes during the year ahead.

The survey also revealed a small uptick in near-term inflation expectations and a slippage in income expectations.

The report said the data are consistent with a 2.7% growth rate in real personal consumption from the second half of 2018 to the first half of 2019.