Consumer Comfort in U.S. Dropped Last Week From Nine-Month High

  • Buying climate gauge sees largest decrease in five years
  • Republican sentiment at a 10-month low before convention

Consumer confidence in the U.S. fell last week from a nine-month high as households became less optimistic about their finances, the buying climate and the national economy, the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Key Points

  • Monthly economic expectations index rose to 44.5, recovering from a big drop in June that put the measure at the lowest since 2013
  • Comfort index fell to 42.9 in the week ending July 17, the lowest in more than a month
  • Buying climate gauge dropped three points to 38.3 last week from 41.3, the largest decline since 2011
  • Personal finances measure fell to to 57.6 from 59.1 in the prior period

Big Picture

Despite growth in spending and reassuring jobs numbers, uncertainty is still weighing on the consumer from both global economic swings and concern over the U.S. presidential race. This resulted in the first significant single-week decline in an otherwise stable 2016 for the index. While sentiment about the economy took a hit from the financial turmoil following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union, that pessimism spread last week to how Americans are feeling about their own wallets.

The Details

  • Gap in confidence between those working full-time and part-time widened to double-digits, a first since May
  • Comfort fell in five out of seven income brackets; it only rose among Americans making less than $15,000 a year and those making $75,000 to $100,000 per year
  • Sentiment among Republicans fell to 36.5, a 10-month low
  • The confidence index fell in every region except the Northeast; in the West, confidence fell 5.2 points to 40.7, the lowest since May
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