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Consumer Comfort in U.S. Advanced in 2017 to a 16-Year High

American consumers last year were more upbeat on average than at any time since 2001, reflecting more favorable views of the economy, personal finances and the buying climate, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday.

Sentiment in 2017 got a boost from the combination of a solid labor market that’s pushed unemployment to an almost 17-year low, limited inflation and record stock prices. Such optimism should help keep consumers spending after a bright holiday-shopping season. Retail sales during the year-end holidays may have been the strongest in more than a decade, according to calculations from research firm Customer Growth Partners.