U.S. Consumer Comfort Little Changed; Partisan Divide Widens

(Bloomberg) -- Americans’ confidence held steady last week, remaining near the highest level of the expansion, as faith in the buying climate improved while views on the economy deteriorated, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended Oct. 22)

  • Main index little changed at 51 after 51.1
  • Measure of personal finances increased to 58.1, a four-week high, from 57.8
  • Gauge of current views on the economy fell to 51.5 from 53.6
  • Index of buying climate rose to 43.4, highest in seven weeks, from 41.9

Key Takeaways

U.S. consumer comfort hasn’t recovered to the 16-year high it reached just before hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria struck, but it remains above a two-month low reached in the first week of this month. As the debate over tax reform heats up in Congress, Americans grew more divided along party lines. Republicans’ confidence increased, with the partisan gap now favoring GOP comfort over Democrats’ by 22 points, the most since early September.

Other Details

  • Confidence among black respondents fell to its lowest level in seven weeks while sentiment among whites rose to highest in same period
  • Index pulled back in the West, rose in the Northeast
  • Comfort among the unemployed fell to lowest since July

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