Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg

American Consumers’ Economic Expectations Are The Highest Since 2002

American consumers this month were the most upbeat about the economy than at any time in almost 15 years, according to Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures released Thursday.

Key Points

  • Monthly consumer expectations index climbed to 56 in January, the strongest reading since March 2002, from 53.5
  • Weekly consumer comfort measure was little changed at 45.2 after 45.1
  • Gauge of current views of national economy at 39.9 last week after 40
  • Personal finances measure eased to 55.8 from 56
  • Buying-climate index improved to 39.8 from 39.2

Big Picture

The jump in optimism, on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, is consistent with other measures showing improved sentiment as a new administration and Congress consider lower taxes and looser regulation. Some 36 percent of those surveyed said the economy was getting better, with big gains over the last four months among Republicans, political independents, full-time workers and those living in the South and West. While confidence has increased, households need to follow through by boosting spending to have any positive economic impact.

The Details

  • 23 percent say the economy is getting worse, the smallest share since January 2011 and down from 35 percent who said so in November
  • For a second month, the share of those saying the economy is improving was greater than those who view it as worsening; under President Barack Obama, responses for “getting worse” exceeded “getting better” by an average of 10 points
  • Comfort picked up last week among consumers in the Midwest, the most optimistic of all four regions, and in the West