A shopper carries bags on Market Street in San Francisco, California, U.S. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)  

U.S. Consumers' Economic Expectations Match Highest Since 2002

(Bloomberg) -- Americans’ expectations for the economy advanced for a second month in June to match the highest level since 2002, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended June 18)

  • Monthly gauge of economic expectations increased to 56 from 54.5
  • Weekly consumer comfort index rose to seven-week high of 56.5 from 55.8
  • Gauge of buying climate climbed to an eight-week high of 49.3 from 48.3
  • Weekly index measuring current views of the economy rose to 57.3, also the highest in seven weeks, from 56.6

Key Takeaways

Americans remain optimistic about the state of the economy as job opportunities remain plentiful and lower taxes cushion consumers’ wallets. Some 38 percent of respondents said the economy is getting better. The share has held at or above 36 percent for the last five months, the longest such stretch in monthly data back to 1986.

What’s more, gasoline prices continue to retreat from a more than three-year high in late May. Such sentiment may keep spurring consumer spending, which is gaining momentum in the second quarter. The latest government figures show retail sales advanced 0.8 percent in May, the most in six months, following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in April.

Other Details

  • Weekly comfort measure among Republicans reached the highest in records back to 1990; confidence posted a smaller gain among Democrats
  • Sentiment rose last week among respondents in three of four U.S. regions, most notably in the West where the gauge was the strongest since November 2000
  • Comfort was little changed among those earning less than $50,000 a year, advanced to a seven-week high for those making more

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