Consumer Comfort in U.S. Increases for First Time in Four Weeks

Shoppers along Fifth Avenue in New York.

Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg

Americans’ confidence rose for the first time in four weeks as households grew more upbeat about their finances amid higher stock prices, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended Sept. 24)

  • Main index rose to 51.6 from 50.6
  • Measure of comfort about personal finances increased to three-month high of 60.1 from 59
  • Gauge of current views on the economy at 51.8 after 50.7
  • Index of buying climate rose to 42.8 from 42.1

Key Takeaways

The rise in sentiment, which included more optimism among top earners, represents a break from three straight declines and coincides with stock prices that are hovering near all-time highs. Households’ assessment of the buying climate also improved after falling 4 points since the start of the month as gasoline prices moved higher on supply concerns related to Hurricane Harvey.

Among homeowners, confidence rose to a 16-year high amid continued solid price appreciation. The difference in the gauge with renters stands at 20.6 points, almost double its historical average.

Other Details

  • Consumer comfort measure is 2 points above its 2017 average and 9.7 points above its historical average in data going back to 1985
  • Confidence among unemployed Americans increased to highest level since 2007
  • Sentiment improved in Northeast and West, declined in Midwest and South
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