Despite the general talk about a gloomy economy, there appears to be a different perspective slowly (emphasis on slowly) developing on the ground. Consumer confidence continued its rebound this week, hitting its highest level in seven weeks alongside brightening expectations for the economy overall.
For the latest week, the Bloomberg consumer comfort index rose to minus 40.8 from minus 42.2 the prior week. On its scale of minus 100 to plus 100, the Bloomberg consumer comfort index has gained 5.7 points in the past two weeks, mainly in a 4.3-point surge last week. The index has been heading upward despite a weak August jobs report and recent rising gasoline prices.
In a separate forward-looking measure, economic expectations also are looking better, if still far from good. While 34 percent of Americans say the economy's getting worse, that's an 11-point drop from last month's nine-month high. Twenty-six percent see the economy improving, the most since May. (Thirty-six percent think things are staying the same.)
Consumer views on time to buy are improving but are still below long-term trend. While 27 percent say it is a good time to buy things they want and need-a five-week high-that is nine points below its long-term average. And while 47 percent rate the state of their personal finances positively for the second week in a row-tying the most since early August-that, too, is 9 points shy of its long-term average.
Overall, consumers are less pessimistic about the economy-at least those with jobs. But the consumer mood is still under average trend.