U.S. consumer comfort rises to 19-year high on views of economy

Keywords Economy

Confidence among Americans surged to the best level since October 2000 on brighter views of the economy and finances, adding to signs that consumers will continue to underpin a record-long expansion.

Bloomberg’s index of consumer comfort rose 1.2 points, to 65.1, in the week ended Jan. 5, according to a report Thursday. All three components improved for a third week, led by the state of the economy measure rising 1.4 points, to a nearly 19-year high of 69.7. The readings for personal finances and the buying climate both added at least 1 point.

The comfort index’s seventh advance in eight weeks demonstrates how upbeat Americans are feeling amid cooling U.S. trade tensions with China, record stock prices, and the lowest unemployment in a half-century.

The composition of the survey showed that trend toward improvement has been broad-based, with measures for women, ages 45-54, college graduates, home owners and white Americans all at the highest levels since 2000. The category for married consumers rose to a record 74.3.

The main consumer comfort gauge has climbed 4 points in three weeks, the best such pace since October 2015. The advance extends its steady rebound from a nine-month low of 58 in November.

Other measures of the consumer’s mood were mixed in December, with the University of Michigan index at a seven-month high and the Conference Board’s gauge down a fourth time in five months.

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