Consumer Comfort in U.S. Shows Biggest Weekly Drop Since October

by The Daily Lede

Consumer Comfort in U.S. Shows Biggest Weekly Drop Since October

Consumer confidence last week suffered its biggest one-week drop since the federal government shutdown in October as attitudes toward the buying climate and personal finances soured.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort (COMFCOMF) Index declined by 2.2 points, the most since Oct. 13, to 34.9 for the period ended May 11. The gauge has declined since reaching 37.9 during the week ended April 27, the second-highest level since January 2008.

Limited wage gains, costlier food and elevated gasoline prices may help explain the deterioration in sentiment among all age and income groups last week. The figures underscore the importance of faster employment and wage growth in propelling consumer spending and the economy.

“Consumer sentiment is holding up fairly well, though there’s been some deterioration among middle- and lower-income cohorts because of a period of higher gasoline prices,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “Comfort will improve as Americans gain confidence in their employment prospects and financial prospects.”