Americans last week started feeling much more confident about the economy, pushing the Bloomberg News Consumer Comfort Index to a seven-week high and partly reversing an early-summer slump, figures released Aug. 3 showed.
Highlights of Consumer Comfort for the Week Ended July 30
• Weekly consumer comfort measure rose to 49.6 from prior week’s 48.6.
• Gauge of current views of economy jumped to 48.6 from 45, the largest one-week gain since October.
• Index of personal finances little changed at 58 after 58.1.
• Measure of buying climate eased to 42.2 from 42.6.
Stock-market indexes at or near records, robust job growth and news showing stronger second-quarter growth probably helped drive up sentiment about the economy. The bull market in equities was greeted by more optimism among wealthier Americans as sentiment climbed for those making at least $75,000 a year, the comfort data showed. A pickup in confidence has the potential to spur spending, which cooled at the start of the third quarter.
• After recovering from a five-month low three weeks ago, the national economy subindex is now 3.1 points above its average for the year and 14.3 points above its long-term average.
• Ratings of the national economy were higher in the West than in the rest of the country; consumers in the West reported the second-highest comfort reading in a decade.
• Positive sentiment about the economy was also higher among Republicans at 59.8% than among Democrats at 43.6%.