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.
• 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.
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.
• 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.