The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to -49.4 in the week ended May 15, a nine-month low reflecting a pessimistic outlook among consumers as the cost of fuel and groceries continues to increase.
Each of the three components of the Bloomberg Comfort Index—personal finances, buying conditions and economic conditions—dropped in the week ended May 15. The personal finances gauge is now at its weakest level since October 2009, and the monthly measure of economic expectations is at a seven-month low.
“A persistent pessimism has settled in among the American public, suggesting a rough second quarter for the U.S. consumer and economy,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg. “Stagnant wages and an elevated level of unemployment are the probably causes behind the bleak view of the state of the national economy and household finance.”
Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates, which compiles the index for Bloomberg, said: “Blame gasoline prices. Consumer sentiment suffers when gas rises steeply for an extended period.”