A customer holds a shopping bag inside the Nike by Melrose live concept store in West Hollywood, California, U.S. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

U.S. Consumer Comfort Rose to New 17-Year High on Economic Views

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumer sentiment advanced to a 17-year high, elevated by rosier views of the economy and personal finances, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended Aug. 5)

  • Weekly index rose to 59.3, the highest since Feb. 2001, from 58.6
  • Gauge of current views of the economy climbed to 17-year high of 61.9 from 60.3
  • Measure of personal finances rose to 66, matching a post-2001 high, from 65.6
  • Index tracking buying climate increased to 50.1 from 49.9

Key Takeaways

Confidence continues to strengthen amid a tight labor market and robust economic growth, with consumers also enjoying tailwinds from tax cuts and lower gas prices. Sentiment is strongly correlated to U.S. stocks, which have rallied back to near-record levels, according to the report. Still, sentiment remains below late-2000 levels, the last time unemployment was this low, on tepid wage growth and lower labor force participation, responses through Aug. 5 showed.

Other Details

  • Comfort among those with a high school degree reached a 17-year high
  • Sentiment among political independents reached the highest level since January 2001 and exceeded comfort levels among Democrats by 10 points
  • Confidence among single Americans increased to a 17-year high, but remained below those who are married

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