U.S. Consumer Comfort Registers Smallest Decline in Six Weeks
Shoppers wait in line to enter a Costco Wholesale location in California. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

U.S. Consumer Comfort Registers Smallest Decline in Six Weeks

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(Bloomberg) -- Confidence among American consumers fell for a sixth straight week, though the latest decline was the smallest since the coronavirus-induced plunge started and a hopeful sign as states seek to reopen their shuttered economies.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped 1.9 points to 39.5 in the week ended April 26, according to the survey released Thursday based on responses collected through Sunday. That’s the lowest since November 2014. While the national economy subindex decreased to the lowest level since October 2014, views of personal finances stabilized.

The buying-climate measure declined to its weakest point since June 2015. Ratings of personal finances were little changed at a 2 1/2-year low, having tumbled from a record high just three months ago.

More than 3.8 million people applied for jobless benefits in the week ended April 25, bringing the six-week total during the coronavirus pandemic to above 30 million.

The world’s largest economy shrank at a 4.8% annualized pace in the first quarter, the biggest slide since 2008 and the first contraction since 2014, as the health crisis forced businesses to close and consumers to stay home. The decline was led by the steepest drop in consumer spending since 1980, Commerce Department data released Wednesday showed.

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