Americans’ expectations about the economy deteriorated in July to an eight-month low as fewer households viewed conditions as improving, according to figures from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released July 20.
Highlights of Consumer Comfort
• Monthly measure of economic expectations fell to 47 in July from 52 in June.
• Share of respondents who say the economy is getting better dropped to 28%; 32% said it was getting worse.
• Weekly consumer comfort measure crept up to 47.6 from 47.
• Gauge of personal finances increased to 57.4 last week from 56.2, which was the lowest since early February
The pickup in optimism about the economy in the months after the presidential election has faded. For the first time since November, more Americans said they thought the economy was getting worse rather than improving. However, expectations were influenced by partisanship, as 13 percent of respondents who are Democrats said the economy was strengthening compared with 48 percent of Republicans who said so. What’s more, negative views on the economy historically have been more prevalent than positive ones, according to the survey. The weekly consumer comfort gauge reflected slightly improved sentiment about personal finances and a modest rise in views about the buying climate.
• Comfort index had third-lowest weekly reading since January; gauge still is 4 points higher than last year’s average and 5.7 points above its historical mean.
• Sentiment among respondents earning less than $50,000 a year increased last week to the highest level since mid-March, fell to lowest since January among those making more.
• Comfort higher last week in West and slightly better in the Northeast and South; it fell in the Midwest.