U.S. Consumer Comfort Gauge Falls to Lowest Since Mid-December

(Bloomberg) -- Consumer confidence fell last week to the lowest point since mid-December as Americans’ views of their financial situations and the buying climate deteriorated, according to figures from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday.

Key Points

  • Weekly consumer comfort index declined to 41.3 from 42.2
  • Economic expectations index fell to a three-month low of 41.5 in September from 44.5
  • Measure of personal finances decreased to 52.9 last week, the weakest in more than a year, from 54.3
  • Buying-climate gauge dropped to 37.3 last week from 38.6
  • Weekly index of current views on the economy was little changed at 33.7 versus 33.8

Big Picture

Less optimism about the economy’s prospects and declining confidence about household finances and whether it’s a good time to spend indicate consumers won’t be as free-spending as they were in the second quarter. While job gains and income growth have provided Americans with the wherewithal to boost purchases, any sustained softening in the employment picture could threaten the outlook for largest part of the economy.

The Details

  • Economic expectations gauge is 0.5 point from the weakest reading since October 2013
  • Sentiment among those earning $50,000 or less a year fell to the second-lowest level since 2014
  • Comfort of full-time workers is lowest since early May
  • Homeowners were least upbeat in four months
  • Confidence for the full-time employed declined to second-lowest reading this year; also weakens among part-time workers and unemployed