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January 18, 2018 5:15 PM, EST

Economic Optimism Keeps Consumer Comfort Near 17-Year High

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Americans grew more upbeat last week about the economy’s performance and the buying climate, allowing a measure of consumer sentiment to remain at an almost 17-year high, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Jan. 18.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort for the Week Ended Jan. 14.

• Weekly comfort index improved to 53.8, the highest since March 2001, from 53.5.

• Measure tracking current views of the economy rose to 56.8, also the strongest since March 2001, from 55.8.

• Index of buying climate rose to 45.1, highest since August, from 44.6.

• Monthly gauge of economic expectations climbed to 52.5 from 47.

Key Takeaways

Plentiful job opportunities, record stock prices and prospects for the economy after passage of tax-cut legislation are combining to elevate sentiment, though more among Republican households than Democrats.

RELATED: Consumers see higher wage growth, inflation in Fed survey

Some 35% of respondents in the monthly expectations survey for January indicated the economy was getting better. That matched November as the highest since August. On the surface, a more confident consumer indicates household spending will remain robust and help fuel the economy.

Other Details

• Comfort index of personal finances eased last week to 59.5 from 60.2.

• Republicans, with 70% seeing the economy as improving, are more upbeat than their Democratic counterparts (21%) and independent voters (33%).

• Americans with incomes below $50,000 matched highest in available data back to 2010.

• Confidence among consumers in the Northeast, those who are unemployed and married Americans reached near 17-year highs.