Consumer confidence climbed for the sixth time in the last seven weeks as Americans became more upbeat about the U.S. economy than at any time since 2001, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed April 13.
• Weekly comfort measure rose to 51 in period ended April 9 from 50.2.
• Personal finances gauge increased to 60.1 from 58.9.
• Sentiment about national economy rose to 49.3, the highest level since August 2001, from 47.5.
• Buying-climate measure was little changed at 43.8 after 44.
The lowest jobless rate since May 2007 and steady hiring help explain why Americans’ optimism about the national economy is the highest in more than 15 years.
While the figures show the gains in sentiment since the presidential election are being sustained, the optimism has yet to translate into a pickup in spending that’s needed to drive economic growth.
A report on April 14 is projected to show retail sales declined in March for the first time in a year as auto purchases slumped, capping a weak first quarter for consumer spending.
• Homeowners were the most optimistic since 2001, while confidence cooled among renters.
• Sentiment rose in the Northeast and the Midwest; the South and West posted a decline.
• Confidence among Republicans rose to the highest since January 2008; Democrats’ sentiment also increased.