Consumer Comfort Increases to One-Month High

Consumer sentiment in the United States climbed last week to a one-month high as Americans grew more upbeat about their personal finances, Bloomberg News reports.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to 44.3 in the period ended March 13, from 43.8 the prior week. The measure has stayed within the 1-point range for the past 12 weeks. A monthly index tracking the economic outlook eased to a five-month low of 42 in March from 42.5.

The share of respondents saying the economy would improve fell to 23% from 24%, while the share seeing it getting worse held at 38%.

The weekly measure of households’ views of their personal finances gained 2.2 points, the biggest pickup since the end of June, to 58.1. The gauge tracking whether it is a good time to make purchases was little changed at 39.5 from 39.4, while current views of the economy cooled to 35.4 from 35.9.

Sentiment among part-time workers improved to the highest since October, while confidence was little changed among full-timers. Men were more upbeat than at any time since April.

Expectations brightened among four of the seven income groups, with households making less than $50,000 being the most optimistic since October. Regionally, confidence climbed in the Northeast and South.