Afternoon Coffee: Mixed Results From Latest Round of Economic Reports – But, Hey! Cheaper Gas is on its Way!

Industrial production in the US took a hit during April, dropping 0.3%, according to the Federal Reserve. April now marks the fifth consecutive month of declining industrial production.

US unemployment claims, however, have hit a 15-year low as of last week, surprising economists who expected more Americans to file for benefits. Claims have also remained under 300,000 for 10 straight weeks, which indicate a strengthening labor market.

Americans do not appear to be very optimistic about the economy, as the consumer confidence index has taken its biggest dive in 2 years. The index fell to 88.6 from the 95.9 in April – a 7.3 point fall and the largest drop since December 2012.

Lower gas prices are predicted this summer, which could give consumers a bit of a boost as far as economic confidence. Experts say gasoline prices will likely stay about $1 cheaper than last summer and be lowest they have been in at least 6 years.

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