(Bloomberg)—Consumer spending may be set to emerge from a weak first quarter as Americans last week became more upbeat about the buying climate than at any time in the last 15 years and optimism about personal finances reached a decade high, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed Thursday.
Highlights of Bloomberg Consumer Comfort (Week Ended May 21) Buying-climate gauge jumped to 46.7, highest since December 2001, from 44.8 Measure of personal finances increased to 62.1 last week from 60.6 Sentiment about national economy eased to 43.9, lowest since February, from 45.3 Overall comfort measure was 50.9 after 50.2
Americans are gaining confidence in their financial well-being amid buoyant stock prices and improving property values, and steady job gains should give way to burgeoning wage growth. At the same time, their soaring post-election optimism about the U.S. economy continues to evaporate. Together the gauges paint a picture of still-strong consumer comfort that should help keep household purchases as the engine of growth as the economy emerges from a soft patch at the start of 2017.
Sentiment in the Northeast soared to 54.6, the highest since March 2007, from 51.4; comfort also rose to a nine-week high in the West while easing in the South and Midwest Comfort continues to be divided along party lines, with Republicans’ sentiment outpacing that of Democrats and political independents Full-time workers were the most upbeat since early April, while sentiment among unemployed respondents was at a four-week high, showing sustained strength in the labor market
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