Consumer Comfort in U.S. Increases for Fourth Straight Week

  • Bloomberg gauge up 5 points in a month, most since 2009
  • Part-time workers most upbeat since before last recession

Consumer confidence advanced for the fourth week, reaching a six-month high as Americans working part-time grew more upbeat than at any time since before the last recession.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to 45.2 in the period ended Oct. 11 from 44.8. The measure is up 5 points over the past four weeks, the largest increase for any comparable period since May 2009.

Brighter consumer attitudes coincided with rebounding stock prices, including a rally last week in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that was the strongest since December. A measure of Americans’ sentiment about their finances climbed to the second-highest level since October 2007.

The personal finances gauge advanced to 60.5 from 59.3 the week prior. The Bloomberg buying-climate index, which measures whether consumers think it is a good time to purchase goods and services, was little changed at 39.5 after 39.6. The index was up 4.7 points in the previous three weeks.

Americans were slightly more sanguine about the economy, with the gauge improving to 35.6, the highest since early May, from 35.4.

Part-time Workers

Sentiment among part-time workers was the highest since March 2007 and exceeded that of full-time workers for the first time since July 2012. The index has soared 18.4 points in the last month, the biggest such advance since records began in 1990.

“The number of part-time workers who can’t find full-time jobs has decreased steadily since May to its lowest since August 2008," Gary Langer, president of the New York-based Langer Research Associates, which conducts the survey for Bloomberg, said in a statement. “Part-time workers may also be encouraged by greater availability of health-care benefits and increased minimum wages."

Thursday’s report also showed the comfort index among renters climbed to the highest since May 2007. This may be a product of the increased optimism of part-time workers, who are more likely to rent than own.

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