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April 5, 2018 11:00 AM, EDT

Consumer Comfort Climbs to 17-Year High on Finances

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News

U.S. consumer sentiment advanced last week to a 17-year high as greater optimism about household finances and the buying climate more than offset a deterioration in views about the economy, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed April 5.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort for the Week Ended March 31

• Weekly index rose to 57.2, the highest since Feb. 2001, from 56.8.

• Personal finances measure rose to 64.7, highest since May 2007, from 63.8.

• Gauge tracking views of the economy fell to an eight-week low of 57.8 from 58.7.

• Comfort index of buying climate rose to 49.1, highest since 2000, from 47.8.

Key Takeaways

Elevated sentiment, together with a strong labor market and lower taxes, may help boost household spending and support the economy. At the same time, the risk of a U.S.-China trade war amid tariff threats is casting uncertainty on the outlook for growth, though economists predict it won’t amount to a major setback.

RELATED: Consumer spending gain lags behind income for second month

Americans with income of less than $50,000 a year as well as those earning more than $100,000 were more upbeat than the prior week, the report showed.

Other Details

• Comfort gauge among women climbed to the highest level since July 2001.

• Index rose in three of four regions and declined in the South.

• Comfort among political independents climbed to a fresh 17-year high.

• Single Americans’ sentiment was the strongest since June 2002.