Photographer: Caitline Ochs/Bloomberg

Six-Week Low in U.S. Consumer Comfort Shows Optimism Is Easing

An easing of Americans’ sunny economic views indicates consumers may need some better news for confidence to sustain its post-election pickup, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Bloomberg Consumer Comfort (week ended May 7)
  • Weekly comfort measure declined to 49.7, a six-week low, from 50.9
  • National economy index dropped to 45.5, biggest decline since Nov. 2015, from 48.3
  • Gauge of personal finances fell to 59.4 from 59.9
  • Buying-climate measure was little changed at 44.3 after 44.4

Key Takeaways

While consumer comfort remains near a 15-year high, Americans were a bit rattled about the prospects for the U.S. economy in the latest week, amid a recent report that first-quarter growth was the weakest in three years. The widespread easing in the comfort gauge across demographic groups could also be a sign that consumers are less optimistic that the Trump administration and Congress will enact policies to boost growth. Still, the index is on a healthy run, remaining above 49 for 11 straight weeks -- the longest such streak since September 2001.

Other Details

  • Americans with incomes between $40,000 and $100,000 registered declines in comfort
  • Consumers in all four regions were more pessimistic, with comfort in the South dropping to the lowest since mid-February
  • Republicans and Democrats both showed weaker comfort; reading of independents at lowest in 11 weeks
  • Year-to-date average for overall index remains on pace for best annual performance since 2001
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