U.S. Consumer Comfort Rebounds as Personal Finances Improve

  • Two of three sub-indexes rose last week from prior period
  • Sentiment climbed among full- and part-time workers, renters

Americans’ moods steadied last week after a slight pullback as household finances improved and consumers felt better about making purchases, according to the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday.

Key Points

  • Comfort measure rose to 44 for period ended Sept. 4, from 43.4 
  • Personal finances index advanced to 56.6 from 55.4
  • Buying climate gauge climbed to 40.3 from 39.8
  • Sentiment about economy was little changed at 35.1 from 35.2

Big Picture

The results keep the index in line with the 43.5 average for this year, reflecting the lack of a clear outlook on the economy. While the job market remains solid, hiring cooled in August and wage gains moderated, Labor Department data showed last week. The presidential election race has also tightened, with recent polls showing the gap narrowing between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

The Details

  • Comfort increased for those earning less than $50,000 a year, even though sentiment among those earning less than $15,000 declined for a sixth week; it fell for people making more than $100,000 annually
  • Sentiment gained for full-time workers, part-timers and renters
  • Gap in sentiment between men and women widened to 8.7 points, the largest since April
  • While comfort gauge rose among Democrats and Republicans, the gap between the groups widened to at least 10 points for the 19th week out of 36 so far this year