• Americans’ views on buying climate best since late February
  • Personal finances gauge climbed last week to a two-month high

Household confidence increased to a five-week high as Americans grew more upbeat about their financial situation as well as purchasing plans, according to the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday.

Key Points

  • Comfort gauge rose to 43.2 in the period ended May 29, from 42 the prior week
  • Index of personal finances climbed to 57.3, the highest since March, from 55.3 
  • Buying climate gauge, showing whether this is a good time to purchase goods and services, jumped to 40.1, the strongest since late February, from 38.9 
  • Measure of views on the economy rose to 32.2 from 31.7 

Big Picture

The improvement in confidence reinforces a more positive picture of household demand toward the end of May. It comes on the heels of data that showed consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, rose more than forecast in April as incomes advanced, setting the second quarter on a stronger track following a soft patch in early 2016. The weekly comfort survey contrasts, however, with the Conference Board’s confidence report that indicated Americans were growing concerned last month about the current state of the economy and the job market.

The Details

  • Comfort index among part-time workers increased to highest level since October ; also rose for those with full time jobs
  • Sentiment jumped to three-month high among people earning more than $50,000
  • Index for Republicans, whose presidential primary has been settled, exceeded comfort gauge for Democrats for the first time since January 
  • Comfort gap between whites and blacks was largest since mid-January
  • Others who saw gains in confidence included homeowners, married Americans and those with high school and college education
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