Consumer Comfort Eases to Second-Lowest Level Since Mid-December

Consumer sentiment last week eased to the second-lowest level since mid-December as Americans’ perceptions of their finances and the buying climate dimmed, according to figures from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday.

Key Points

  • Consumer comfort index slips to 41.4 in period ended Oct. 2 from 41.6
  • Buying-climate gauge at 38.3 versus 38.7
  • Measure of personal finances fell to 53.8 from 54.5
  • Gauge of views on economy rose to 32.1 from four-month low of 31.4

Big Picture

The gauge indicates consumer sentiment is in a holding pattern. The comfort index averaged 42.9 in the third quarter after 43 in the previous three-month period. While steady job growth is keeping Americans sanguine, modest wage gains are among reasons sentiment isn’t making further advances. At the same time, confidence has been steady enough to underpin consumer spending and the economy.

The Details

  • Comfort among men fell to eight-week low, while it rose for women
  • Sentiment among full-time workers decreased to lowest level since May
  • Confidence for those ages 18 to 34 was second-weakest since September 2015
  • Comfort climbed in Northeast and Midwest last week
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