WASHINGTON (12/6/13)--Consumers reported being in a better mood last week amid a slate of good, and with memories of October's partial government shutdown fading. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was up 2.4 points to -31.3 for the week ending Dec. 1.
The three components of the measure all increased. A reading of consumers' views on the state of the economy was up 2.1 points to -60.4, the personal finance index was up 2.5 points to 2.6, and the buying climate measure was up 2.7 points to -36.
The overall index was at its highest since dysfunction in Washington led to anxiety among consumers that caused the measure to drop.
The most dramatic gains were found in the Northeast, where consumer comfort rose by 6.1 points. The measure in the Midwest was down 1 point. The South and West added 0.6 points and 5.3 points respectively.
Analysts at Bloomberg credited the gains with an improving labor market and holiday discounts, despite relatively weak post-recession wage growth in the lower part of the income distribution. The Consumer Comfort Index--based on weekly polling since 1985--was 10.3 higher during Thanksgiving week in 2007 (Bloomberg.com Dec. 5). But underlying the short-term across-the-board gains reflected in the index's increase last week was the fact that comfort was higher among all income cohorts except for those making more than $100,000 (Economy.com Dec. 5).
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is based on a telephone survey of 1,000 consumers age 18 and older. It's based on 250 respondents who are queried about their views on the economy, their own personal finances, and the general buying climate.