More favorable attitudes about personal finances and the economy helped bolster Americans’ confidence last week, according to Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures released July 27.
Highlights of Bloomberg Consumer Comfort for the Week Ended July 23
• Weekly consumer comfort measure rose to 48.6 from prior week’s 47.6
• Gauge of national economy climbed to 45 from 44.1
• Index of personal finances advanced to 58.1 from 57.4
• Index of buying climate increased to 42.6 from 41.4
The results, including six-week highs in comfort about finances and the buying climate, reflect a labor market that continues to make progress and healthier household finances boosted by stock-market gains and home-equity appreciation. An improvement in sentiment bodes well for consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of the economy.
At the same time, sentiment remains divided by income level: the comfort index for Americans making at least $100,000 a year, while falling to an almost six-month low of 72.1, was roughly double the 36.6 reading for those earning less than $50,000.
• Comfort index jumped among part-time workers to the highest since February 2007.
• Confidence also rose for full-time employees, homeowners and renters.
• Sentiment rose in three of four regions last week; fell in the Northeast.