U.S. Consumer Comfort Just Reached Its Highest Level in a Decade

  • Sentiment about U.S. economy is strongest since August 2001
  • Confidence extends beyond Republicans as independents upbeat

Americans’ confidence continued to mount last week as the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index reached the highest point in a decade on more-upbeat assessments about the economy and buying climate, figures showed Thursday.

Key Points

  • Consumer comfort index rose to 50.6 in the period ended March 5, the highest since March 2007, from 49.8
  • Measure has exceeded 50 just six times since April 2002
  • Gauge of economy advanced to 48.2, the highest since August 2001, from 46.8
  • Buying-climate measure rose to 44.5, the strongest reading since April 2002, from 43.7
  • Index of personal finances was little changed at 58.9 versus 59

Big Picture

Stock indexes near record highs and persistent strength in the job market have lifted the consumer comfort gauge in five of the last six weeks since the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The report showed respondents view the buying climate as the most favorable in nearly 15 years, indicating household spending may rebound after a slow start to 2017. While sentiment has been particularly strong among those who vote Republican, the data also showed political independents were the most upbeat since July 2001.

The Details

  • Confidence among Americans with incomes above $100,000 cooled for the first time in six weeks, easing to 76.8 from a 78.7 reading that matched a record reached in 2006
  • Republicans’ sentiment exceeded that of Democrats by the most since September 2013
  • Sentiment rose in the South and Midwest; fell in the West and Northeast
  • Part-time employees were most confident since October 2015
  • Comfort among married Americans was highest in a decade
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