U.S. consumer comfort drops to eight-week low on finance views

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WASHINGTON (April 4): A measure of sentiment among Americans declined to an eight-week low as respondents’ views of their personal finances posted the steepest two-week drop since 2015.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to 58.9 from 60 in the week ended March 31, according to a report Thursday. All three main components fell, with personal finance views at the lowest level since January and the buying climate index falling to an eight-week low.

Key Insights

The third decline in four weeks shows confidence among U.S. consumers is cooling despite a stock-market rally, rising wages and the Federal Reserve’s pledges to be patient on interest rates. 

While some economic data remain upbeat, retail sales unexpectedly declined in February while a separate report showed U.S. companies added the fewest workers in March since late 2017. 

The weekly measure of views of the state of the economy eased slightly. With income-tax refunds lower than last year and gasoline prices up sharply since 2019 began, Americans may be feeling like there’s less cash in their wallets despite consistent wage gains.

The comfort level among single Americans fell to the lowest level since October. Confidence among women fell to a six-week low. Comfort measures fell in three of four regions, led by the Midwest, which slumped to the lowest reading in almost three months. Sentiment improved in the South.