Inflation remained tame in April and below the U.S. Federal Reserves higher end target of 2%. The Core Personal Consumption Expenditure, which measures the prices paid by consumers for goods and services without the volatility caused by movements in food and energy prices, was unchanged in April and has been trending lower in recent months. This could signal a slowdown in economic activity.
In the manufacturing sector, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose to 58.7 in May, well above the 49.0 reading seen in April. Within the report it showed that the employment component jumped to 58.1 from 48.7. Manufacturing across the nation has been slowing in the past few months and though one report doesn't constitute a pattern, it was good news for manufacturing.
Consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in nearly six years in May to 84.5 due to a rise in home prices and a surge in U.S. Stock markets - the index was at 76.4 in April. However, in a separate report, consumer spending fell by 0.2% last month making it the first decline since May of 2012. The drop in spending could be due in part to the rise in payroll taxes this year - consumer spending drives 70% of U.S. economic activity.