U.S. Consumer Comfort Highest Since 2001 on Optimism for Economy

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumer confidence, along with a measure of Americans’ views of the economy, advanced last week to the highest levels in nearly 17 years, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended Jan. 28)

  • Weekly comfort index rose to 54.6, the highest since March 2001, from 53.7
  • Measure tracking current views of the economy increased to 57.8, also the highest since March 2001, from 55.2
  • Gauges of personal finances and buying climate were little changed at 59.9 and 46.1, respectively

Key Takeaways

Robust employment, rising property values, elevated stock prices and lower taxes are combining to fuel a rise in consumer sentiment about the economy, most notably among the wealthiest Americans and Republicans. More upbeat economic views, along with steady sentiment about personal finances and the buying climate, may continue to underpin consumer spending. Federal Reserve officials, who on Wednesday left their benchmark interest rate unchanged, said household outlays “have been solid.”

Other Details

  • Comfort among Republicans was the highest in 18 years, after gaining 10.6 points in the last five weeks
  • Sentiment among Americans earning at least $100,000 rose to the highest level in available data back to June 2004
  • Comfort measures for homeowners, seniors, men and the unemployed were all near 17-year highs

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