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.
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.
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.
• 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.