U.S. Consumer Comfort Hits 10-Year High on Economic Outlook

Consumer comfort rose to an almost 10-year high in the final week of February on increased optimism about the U.S. economy and more favorable views about personal finances and the buying climate, the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Key Points

  • Consumer comfort index climbed to 49.8, the highest since March 2007, from 48
  • Gauge has increased in four of the past five weeks
  • Personal finances measure rose to 59, highest since July, from 56.4
  • Gauge of economic views increased to 46.8, strongest since March 2007, from 45.2
  • Buying-climate index improved to 43.7, highest since April 2015, from 42.5

Big Picture

Confidence extended its significant climb that began after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. While some respondents are embracing his plans to reduce taxes and boost the economy, the highest sentiment reading for full-time workers in 16 years shows Americans are also taking comfort in brighter employment prospects. Still, a report Wednesday that showed higher inflation is chipping away at personal incomes indicates faster wage growth is needed to drive bigger gains in consumer spending.

The Details

  • The jump in confidence over the last five weeks is the largest for any comparable post-inaugural period in records to 1985
  • Sentiment among full-time employees was highest since February 2001
  • Gauge of comfort among those with annual incomes of at least $100,000 matched an all-time high reached in 2006 as the stock market remains at record levels
  • Americans with incomes above $50,000 were the most confident since March 2001, while a smaller gain was recorded for those earning less
  • Comfort rose in the Northeast and Midwest; was little changed in the South and West
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