Consumer comfort climbs higher

The Bloomberg weekly Consumer Comfort Index is a national survey that asks Americans about the overall economy, their own personal financial situation, and how they view the backdrop for making large purchases. Because it’s weekly, the index provides a timely view of how consumers are feeling. And this week it’s inflecting higher, now at 38.7% from its low of 34.7% reached in mid-May.

While we still have a ways to go to get back to levels we saw in early 2020, what’s surprising is that the comfort of the U.S. consumer never declined below levels we saw even during the 2008-2009 Great Financial Crisis. Despite the total lockdown of the U.S. economy, the Consumer Comfort Index only ever pulled back to 2014 levels. How is that possible? 

Simply put, the U.S. consumer was in great shape going into the shutdown. As we’ve alluded to in prior commentary, the pre-pandemic health of the consumer and of the economy overall matters a great deal for the pace and resilience of the current recovery, even as the economy contends with continued social unrest and potential political turmoil stemming from U.S. elections in the fall.

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