Pedestrians carry shopping bags while walking through the Grand Prairie Premium Outlets mall in Grand Prairie, Texas, U.S. (Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg)

U.S. Consumer Comfort Nears 17-Year High on Better Finance Views

(Bloomberg) -- Americans’ sentiment improved for a fifth-straight week, buoyed by brighter views of their personal finances and record-high confidence among Republicans, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended July 8)

  • Weekly index increased to 58, the highest since mid-April and matching the second-strongest reading since February 2001, from 57.6
  • Measure of buying climate improved to 49.9 from 49.4
  • Gauge of personal finances rose to 65.1, the best since mid-April, from 64
  • Index tracking current views of the economy fell to 58.9 from 59.4

Key Takeaways

Confidence continues to strengthen amid a tight labor market, tax cuts and a drop in gas prices since late May that are making Americans more likely to make purchases and feel better about household finances. Those gains outweighed dimmer evaluations of the state of the economy, which eased slightly from a three-month high the prior week, responses through July 8 showed.

Other Details

  • The gap between Republican and Democratic sentiment grew to widest in more than a decade
  • Comfort levels of consumers age 35-44 reached a 17-year high
  • Sentiment among black people is at its highest level since February 2015

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