A sales associate stocks items at a store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

Consumer Comfort in U.S. Jumps Despite Stock-Market Turbulence

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumer sentiment jumped last week to the highest level since February 2001, indicating Americans were shaking off turbulence in the stock market, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended Feb. 11)

  • Weekly comfort index rose to 57 from 54.4; 2.6-point gain matches biggest since 2009
  • Gauge of the buying climate climbed by 3.1 points to 48.6, the highest since Dec. 2000
  • Measure tracking current views of the economy jumped to 61, highest since Feb. 2001, from 57.8
  • Index of personal finances advanced to 61.5, the highest since May, from 59.7

Key Takeaways

Consumers remain upbeat about the economy, their finances and the buying climate, representing a disconnect from volatility in the stock market that culminated in a 5.2 percent slump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average last week. That shows a robust labor market is playing a bigger role in boosting household sentiment. The Labor Department’s latest employment report revealed stronger wage growth and continuing low joblessness, which will help support consumer demand.

Other Details

  • Comfort among married Americans reached its highest since January 2001, which at 64.8, is far higher than for singles
  • Sentiment among political independents reached its strongest reading since February 2001
  • Confidence among Republicans, while falling last week, remained higher than that of Democrats
  • Comfort levels increased the most among Americans in the South and West
  • Report is typically released Thursday at 9:45 a.m. New York time; latest figures were inadvertently posted on Bloomberg terminal earlier Wednesday

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