(Bloomberg) — Consumer confidence in the U.S. improved to a five-week high, buoyed by more positive views about personal finances and the buying climate.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to 42 in the period ended Aug. 23 from 41.1 the week before. Survey interviews were largely completed prior to the slump in global equity markets over the past week, meaning upcoming reports will provide a better sense of how much the turmoil seeped into Americans’ psyche.
Thursday’s data indicate attitudes were on the mend in the weeks leading up to the volatility, bolstered by the creation of 211,000 jobs per month on average this year and cheaper gasoline prices that have boosted disposable income. Those pillars will need to remain intact to help consumers withstand the market swings, which have been ignited by fears of a bigger global economic slowdown.
“While the future’s never certain, consumer sentiment generally has weathered short-term market upheavals,” Gary Langer, president of a Langer Research Associates, which compiles the data for Bloomberg, said in a statement. “Many Americans simply take the markets in stride. Fundamentals including employment, wages and economic growth also interact strongly with confidence.”
The personal finances gauge rose to 54.3 from 52.6, the biggest advance in eight weeks. The index tracking the buying climate, which indicates whether consumers think now is a good time to purchase goods and services, climbed to 37.2 from 36.5.
The measure of Americans’ views on the state of the economy improved to 34.6 from 34.2.