Consumer Comfort in U.S. Held Close Last Week to High for Year

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

Consumer Comfort in U.S. Held Close Last Week to High for Year


Byline: Bloomberg News

Consumer sentiment in the U.S. held last week near the highest level of 2014 as employment opportunities kept Americans upbeat about the economy.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index eased to 37.2 in the period ended Oct. 26 from 37.7 a week earlier. The measure reached a high this year of 37.9 in April. A gauge of attitudes about the world's largest economy was the second-strongest since January 2008.

An improving labor market and the cheapest gasoline prices since late 2010 are brightening households' spirits as the holiday shopping season approaches. Job growth that's accompanied by a pickup in worker pay would help propel sentiment further and spur spending into next year.

"The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index hit the hold button this week, pausing after a three-week boost in ratings of the national economy that brought it to the top of its recent range," Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates LLC in New York, which produces the data for Bloomberg, said in a statement. The index "has faced challenges in mounting a sustained break-out."

The U.S. economy expanded more than forecast in the third quarter, capping its strongest six months in more than a decade, Commerce Department figures showed today. Gross domestic product rose at a 3.5 percent annualized rate after a 4.6 percent pace in the second quarter.

Stocks fell on speculation the economy is strong enough for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than estimated. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 0.1 percent to 1,979.49 at 9:35 a.m. in New York.

Buying Climate

Today's report on sentiment showed the buying-climate measure, which asks whether this is a good time to make purchases, fell for a third week, to 31.6 from 32.7, while the gauge of personal finances was little changed at 52.2 from 52.4 the prior period.

The Bloomberg measure about the state of the economy was little changed at 27.9 after 28, which was the highest in almost seven years.

Lower prices at the gas pump are providing Americans with the wherewithal to spend more on other goods and services. …

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