April 6, 2017 10:30 AM, EDT

Consumer Comfort Rises for Fifth Time in Last Six Weeks

Leila Navidi/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Americans’ confidence climbed for the fifth time in the last six weeks, resulting in the strongest quarterly sentiment since 2007, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed April 6.

Key Points

• Weekly comfort measure rose to 50.2 in period ended April 2, from 49.7.

• Personal finances gauge increased to 58.9 from 57.4.

• Sentiment about national economy improved to 47.5 from 47.1.

• Buying-climate measure eased to 44, a five-week low, from 44.5.

Big Picture

The gain in sentiment, which included more optimism among full- and part-time workers and spanned most income groups, reflects a strong job market and steady growth in the economy. At the same time, the political divide worsened — with confidence reaching a new nine-year high among Republicans while barely budging for Democrats. The difference was the largest in favor of Republicans since 2009.

The Details

• Americans earning less than $50,000 became more optimistic last week, while confidence cooled among those who earn more than $100,000.

• Sentiment rose in three of four regions; the South posted a decline.

• Comfort gauge for men rose to the highest level since May 2007 while women remained downbeat.