Bloomberg by the Numbers: -34.4

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Valley Appliance employees deliver a Maytag Corp. electric stove to a customer in Princeton, Illinois.

That’s the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index for the week ended Nov. 4, the highest rating of the economy in more than four years.

The index, produced for Bloomberg by Langer Research Associates, asks people to rate the national economy, the buying climate and their personal finances on a scale of plus 100 to minus 100, then averages the results of the three responses. Twenty percent of those surveyed had a positive view of the economy.

With the presidential race over and the job market seeing improvements, the sentiment may continue to rise, according to Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP.

“The underlying improvement in the trend across all major consumer confidence readings will reassert itself in coming weeks,” Brusuelas said. “That being said, given the damage from the storm, a transitory downdraft in consumer comfort should be expected.”

In the week leading up to the election, the CCI among Democrats fell to minus 23.5 from minus 22.9 the previous week. Republican sentiment decreased to minus 39.6 from minus 37.8. Sentiment among Independents, or swing-voters, rose to minus 39.7, the highest since June, from minus 40.7 the prior week.

“There was a clear political element to economic views heading into the election,” with Democrats being the least pessimistic, said Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates.


The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, compiled by Langer Research Associates in New York, conducts telephone surveys with a random sample of 1,000 consumers 18 and older. Each week, 250 respondents are asked for their views on the economy, personal finances and buying climate; the percentage of negative responses is subtracted from the share of positive views and divided by three. The most recent reading is based on the average of responses over the previous four weeks.

The comfort index can range from 100, indicating every participant in the survey had a positive response to all three components, to minus 100, signaling all views were negative. The margin of error for the headline reading is 3 percentage points.


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