American Consumer Comfort Closes In on Best Year Since 2007

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

Household confidence in the United States is closing in on its best year since before the latest recession, according to figures in the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Dec. 29.

Key Points

• The comfort measure cooled to 46 from 46.7 in the period ended Dec. 25, the first retreat in five weeks.

• The gauge in the prior week was the strongest since April 2015.

• The gauge of national economy eased to 41.2 from 42.1.

• The personal finances measure fell to 56, lowest since mid-October, from 56.8.

• The buying-climate index changed little at 40.9 after 41.1.

Big Picture

While leveling out during the week that included the Christmas holiday, the comfort gauge is in line with other measures of confidence that have been surging since President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in November.

Republicans, higher-income individuals, homeowners and full-time workers have been especially optimistic. Expectations are high that Trump will deliver on promises to boost jobs, wages and growth and ease taxes and regulatory burdens. Further gains in sentiment will depend in part on how Americans judge the new administration is measuring up against those pledges and helping to keep the economy churning more than seven years after the end of the latest recession.

The Details

• Comfort gauge of Republicans in the week of Dec. 25 rose to 49, highest since March 2008, from 48.6.

• Americans earning more than $100,000 registered views that were still close to the brightest in 10 years.

• Sentiment among homeowners eased from the reading in the prior week, which was the strongest since February 2007.

• Full-time employees remained close to brightest views since April 2015.