U.S. Consumer Comfort Falls From Highest Level Since April 2015

  • All three sub-indexes pulled back last week from prior period
  • Sentiment declined among lowest wage earners and women

American consumer sentiment reversed course last week after climbing to the highest level since April 2015, weighed down by less favorable views of the economy, the buying climate and household finances, the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Key Points

  • Comfort measure fell to 43.4 for the period ended Aug. 28 from 45.3
  • Buying climate gauge declined to 39.8 from 42.4
  • Personal finances index dropped to 55.4 from 57.8
  • Sentiment about economy eased to 35.2 from 35.8

Big Picture

The pullback from a more than one-year high corroborates the more recent volatility in the index that indicates households are less certain about the economy’s prospects. The U.S. expansion is coming off the weakest first half since 2011, and while the strong job market and cheap fuel costs are expected to underpin consumer spending, the political environment has turned acrimonious as the presidential election approaches.

The Details

  • Lowest income earners recorded a decline in sentiment for fifth straight week
  • Confidence among women fell to a four-month low
  • Comfort gauge fell among Democrats and rose for Republicans, narrowing the gap between the groups to under 10 points for the first time in a record 11 weeks
  • Full-time workers, part-timers and the unemployed posted declines in sentiment
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