Consumers Are the Most Optimistic Since Recession
American consumers have the most positive outlook on the economy since the start of the recession, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.
In 2013, the average index measurement was minus 31.4, and for the period that ended Dec. 29, the index was at minus 28.7. This compares to a dismal index measurement of minus 48.9 in March 2011.
The comfort index, calculated every four weeks, is based on about 1,000 Americans' ratings of the national economy. Random sample phone poll participants are also asked their opinion of the buying climate and their personal finances. The index can range from minus 100, meaning every participant had negative views, to 100, signaling that all views were positive.
In 2007, before the recession fully hit, the comfort index was minus 10.5. Since Bloomberg first started the index in December 1985, the measurement has averaged minus 16.4.
Bloomberg attributed the relatively positive outlook to an improved job market, higher stock prices, and increasing home values.
“Consumers were somewhat uneasy in the latest week," Richard Yamarone, a senior economist for Bloomberg LP in New York told Bloomberg News. "However, record stock market evaluations and increased job creation has bolstered confidence levels from relatively low levels."
The article reported that retail sales increased 3.5 percent during the holiday season, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.