U.S. Consumers’ Comfort in Buying Climate Climbs to Record High

(Bloomberg) -- Americans’ sentiment about the buying climate reached an all-time high last week, adding to signs that a strong labor market, income growth and tame inflation will help keep consumers spending and support an economy slowed by trade disputes and manufacturing weakness.

Better views of whether it’s a good time to buy lifted the overall Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index to 63.5 the week ended Oct. 13 from 62.7, data released Thursday showed. The confidence measure stands 1.2 points from an 18-year high reached in late July. The comfort gauge of personal finances also rose, while the measure of confidence in the economy was little changed.

U.S. Consumers’ Comfort in Buying Climate Climbs to Record High

The improvement in the overall comfort reading is consistent with the University of Michigan’s preliminary October consumer sentiment index, which advanced to a three-month high. The figures indicate optimism is on the mend this month after a Conference Board survey showed consumer confidence posted its biggest monthly slide of the year in September.

In a sign of confidence about the labor market, comfort among full-time workers advanced to an all-time high. The index of sentiment among those with household incomes of at least $100,000 a year was the strongest in available data back to 2004. The comfort index for men exceeded the measure for women by the widest margin since May.

Meanwhile, consumer expectations were little changed as the comfort index’s monthly gauge eased to 49 in October from 49.5 a month earlier. Expectations have cooled since reaching a peak this year in July.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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