Americans’ Pessimism About Economy’s Prospects Hits 11-Year High

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(Bloomberg) -- More U.S. consumers than at any time in the last 11 years said prospects for the economy were deteriorating and a weekly measure of sentiment extended its slide -- the consequence of business shutdowns and longer unemployment lines as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Fifty-eight percent of consumers in April, the largest share since February 2009, said economic expectations were getting worse compared with 34% who said so a month earlier. The increase in pessimism pushed the Bloomberg Economic Expectations Index down 17.5 points to 29, marking the steepest monthly decline since October 2008.

The weekly measure of consumer comfort decreased another 3.1 points to 41.4, the lowest reading since October 2016. The gauge has plummeted a whopping 21.6 points since mid-March amid state-ordered closures of many non-essential businesses that have led to a 22-million spike in the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits.

The drop in the weekly gauge reflected further declines in views of the current economy, buying conditions and personal finances. The national economy subindex decreased to the lowest level since October 2016, while the buying-climate measure now stands at its weakest point since November 2015.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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