U.S. Consumer Comfort Increases for First Time in Five Weeks

(Bloomberg) -- Americans’ confidence improved for the first time in five weeks, supported by record-high views of the economy and more-upbeat assessments of personal finances, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended Sept. 9)

  • Weekly index rose to 59 from 58, just below 17-year high of 59.3
  • Index tracking views of economy rose to 62.9, highest since Feb. 2001, from 62.6
  • Rating of personal finances rebounded to 62.6 from six-month low of 61.1 
  • Measure of the buying climate rose to eight-week high of 51.5 from 50.5

Key Takeaways

The broad gains across the weekly gauge’s main components coincides with the August jobs report, which showed the fastest increase in workers’ wages since 2009 and the unemployment rate holding near the lowest since the 1960s. That should support continued gains in household spending. At the same time, the comfort figures show persistent gaps by race, political affiliation and income level, though those disparities narrowed slightly last week.

Other Details

  • Sentiment in the South rose to highest since December 2000; also increased in the Midwest and Northeast, while declining in West
  • Comfort among political independents also ticked up to highest since December 2000
  • Confidence among married respondents hit highest since February 2000

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