U.S. Consumer Comfort Suffers Biggest Weekly Drop on Record

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(Bloomberg) -- Consumer confidence in the U.S. suffered its biggest weekly decline on record as stay-at-home directives to help contain the coronavirus resulted in the sharpest-ever deteriorations in attitudes about the economy and buying climate.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index tumbled 6.4 points in the week ended April 4 to 49.9, the lowest since October 2017, according to data released Wednesday. In the past three weeks, the measure has plummeted more than 13 points, also the steepest drop in records back to 1985.

U.S. Consumer Comfort Suffers Biggest Weekly Drop on Record

The comfort report’s gauge of confidence in the economy lost a whopping 10.6 points last week to 44.4, the lowest reading since July 2017. A measure of attitudes toward the buying climate slumped 5.9 points to the weakest level since the end of 2017. The CCI’s third gauge, views of personal finances, hit a four-month low.

Business closures that have led about 10 million Americans for file for jobless benefits in the last two weeks of March underscore an economy that’s probably in a recession.

While the weakening in sentiment was broad-based among demographics, ratings for Americans with household incomes of at least $100,000 -- a cohort that may have more stock-market exposure -- slid 8.4 points to the lowest level since July 2015. The comfort gauge for that group has plunged 24.3 points in the last month.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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