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Consumer Comfort Index Declines in U.S.

June 23, 2011

Press Release

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Was Minus 44.9 in the
Period to June 19

New York — Consumer confidence fell for the first time in five
weeks as Americans grew more concerned about the economy.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 44.9 in
the period to June 19, from the prior week’s minus 44. The
decline, within the survey’s margin of error of 3 percentage
points, left the gauge close to its average for the year.

Unemployment at 9.1 percent, higher food costs and lower home
values are weighing on sentiment and adding to the risk of a
slowdown in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of
the economy. The Federal Reserve yesterday said it will maintain
record monetary stimulus to help bolster the recovery.

For full CCI results, see:

“Disillusion has settled in among the public over the direction
of the country that will likely not fade anytime soon,” said
Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New
York. “The first half of 2011 has been nothing short of an
economic disappointment.”

More Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment
insurance payments last week, showing companies are less
confident about the expansion than they were earlier this year,
a report from the Labor Department also showed today.

Applications increased by 9,000 in the week ended June 18 to
429,000. The number of claims dropped as low as 375,000 in
February, the fewest since July 2008.

Stocks fell for a second day on concern about the labor market
and the effects of the European debt crisis on banks. The
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index decreased 1.4 percent to 1,269.13 at
9:33 a.m. in New York.

The Bloomberg comfort report showed an index of consumers’ views
of the economy fell to minus 80.1 last week, the worst reading
since April, from minus 77 the previous week.

The data buttress the results of a separate Bloomberg National
Poll conducted June 17-20. It found that two years after the
start of the recovery, 25 percent of those surveyed worried the
economy was getting worse, while 23 percent said they were
hopeful the recovery was improving. By a 44 percent to 34
percent margin, Americans said they believed they were worse off
than when President Barack Obama took office in early 2009.

The weekly Bloomberg comfort gauge of personal finances
deteriorated to minus 7.6, following four consecutive weeks of
improvement. The buying climate measure climbed to minus 47, the
best showing since January.

Today’s report also showed the sentiment index among people with
annual household incomes exceeding $100,000 fell to minus 8.9
last week from minus 3.6. The gauge has been negative for six
straight weeks. An S&P 500 that’s dropped 6.6 percent from May 2
to June 17 may be unnerving higher-income Americans.

The overall Bloomberg consumer comfort index has averaged minus
44.7 so far this year, compared with minus 45.7 in 2010 and
minus 47.9 in 2009, the report showed.

“Three years after consumer sentiment tipped into the recession
zone, recovery remains an aspiration, not a reality,” Gary
, president of Langer Research Associates LLC in New York,
which compiles the index for Bloomberg, said in a statement.

The comfort index for part-time workers improved to a four-
month high of minus 43.8 last week. Sentiment fell among jobless
Americans and among those with full-time jobs.

La-Z-Boy Inc. (LZB), a maker of living-room recliners, is among
companies seeing shoppers respond to weaker economic data,
especially in industries that offer discretionary products like

“Right now, unfortunately, there is probably more bad news than
good news,” Kurt Darrow, chief executive officer of Monroe,
Michigan-based La-Z-Boy, said on a conference call with analysts
yesterday. “There is this flailing about the economy.”

At the same time, cheaper fuel has brought some relief. The
average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline fell to $3.63 on
June 22 from a May 4 price of $3.99 that was the highest since
July 2008, according to AAA, the nation’s largest auto club.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is based on responses to
telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,000 consumers
aged 18 and over. Each week, 250 respondents are asked for their
views on the economy, personal finances and buying climate; the
percentage of negative responses is subtracted from the share of
positive views and divided by three.

The comfort index can range from 100, indicating every
participant in the survey had a positive response to all three
components, to minus 100, signaling all views were negative. The
margin of error for the headline reading is 3 percentage points.

Contact for Bloomberg:

Jessica Turtletaub, +1 212-617-8476,