Magic Number of the Day: 15

Photograph by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis

Shoppers in New York City.

That’s the rise in the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index in the past 10 weeks, to minus 31.4 percent in the week ended April 1 from minus 46.4 in the week ended Jan. 22. The index asks people how they feel about the economy, their personal finances and the buying climate.

It’s rare to see such a large jump in the index in such a short period of time. The last time the index rose by 15 points or more in a 10-week span was in late 2006, right after Democrats won control of the House and Senate to share political power with President George W. Bush, who was unpopular at the time. The index was plus 1 for the week ended Nov. 26, 2006, up from minus 15 in the week ended Sept. 17, 2006.

An improving economy would benefit President Barack Obama as he campaigns for re-election. He says his policies have helped the economy recover from a deep recession. “Our economy’s begun to turn a corner, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” Obama said yesterday.

Republicans including presidential front-runner Mitt Romney have said Obama’s programs have disrupted the economy. “He delayed the recovery and he made it anemic,” Romney told newspaper editors at a convention in Washington on April 4.

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