Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rises to Highest Level in Four Years [View all]
Household confidence improved last week to a four-year high as more Americans said the economy was improving and decided it was a good time to shop.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (COMFCOMF) was minus 36.7 in the period ended March 4, the highest since April 2008, up from minus 38.8 in the prior period. The gauge on the state of the economy reached a one-year high, while the buying-climate measure climbed to a level last exceeded in December 2009.
For a fifth straight week, half of those surveyed also rated their personal finances as positive, bolstered by a resilient stock market, faster job growth and rising wages. Stronger household balance sheets may be helping ease the sting of the steepest gasoline prices in almost a year.
“Consumers are much more comfortable about their own personal financial situations, which is largely negating the recent rise in gasoline prices,” said Joe Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “That said, consumer confidence remains at the low end of the historical range.”