U.S. Consumer Comfort Slumps to Lowest Level Since JanuaryBy
A sudden downturn in American households’ optimism about the economy and less-favorable views of personal finances sent the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index reeling to its lowest point since January, a potentially adverse sign for spending, figures showed Thursday.
Highlights of Consumer Comfort (week ended July 9)
The root of the biggest two-week decline in the measure of confidence about the economy since 2011 and less optimism about households’ financial well-being may lay in subdued wage growth and disappointment in Washington politics. While stocks are hovering close to record highs, sentiment weakened particularly among those making more than $50,000 a year, indicating respondents are increasingly doubtful Congress and President Donald Trump will pass economy-enhancing legislation, including tax reductions. While the post-inauguration bump in sentiment has evaporated, low inflation and cheap borrowing costs remain sources of support for consumer spending.
- Sentiment among those making more than $50,000 fell to the lowest since the first week of February, while sentiment for those making less rose for the third week
- Comfort fell in the Northeast, Midwest and the West, while it increased in the South
- Optimism fell to a five-month low among political independents, while sentiment also weakened among Republicans and Democrats