U.S. consumer sentiment rose to 84.5 in May, its highest level in six years, as unemployment fell slightly and the stock market rose, according to a survey released on Friday.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s index on consumer sentiment showed a climb from 76.4 in April, which was the highest number since July 2007.

Reuters said, though wealthy households continued to lead the charge, middle- and lower-income households began to catch up.

Analysts polled by Briefing.com expected, on average, the closely watched index to climb to 83.7.

"The data clearly suggest a faster pace of growth in consumer spending during the year ahead than was anticipated even one month ago," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

The index of buying conditions for durable goods rose to 147 from 137.

Recent gains in the stock market combined with steady improvements in the labor sector offset increases in gasoline prices to drive sentiment up this month, Briefing.com said.

The Present Conditions Index rose to 97.5 from 89.9, the highest level since October 2007.

However, the report said that consumer sentiment had little sway over actual consumption and the sole thing that will drive further consumption is rising employment.