The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index measures Americans' perceptions on three important variables: the state of the economy, personal finances and whether it's a good time to buy needed goods or services. A new index reading is generated every week, making it a timely sentiment gauge. The responses are broken down by participants' sex, age, income level, race, region of residence, political affiliation, marital and employment status, giving a more detailed picture of what is driving changes in confidence. The data's history goes back to 1985, making it a valuable tool for investors and economists.
The index, produced by Langer Research Associates in New York, is derived from telephone interviews with a random sample of about 250 consumers a week aged 18 or over, and is based on a four-week moving average of 1,000 responses. The percentage of households with negative views on the economy, personal finances and buying climate is subtracted from the share with positive outlooks and the difference is divided by 3. The results 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 is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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