That’s the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index for the seven-day period ended Feb. 24.
The index, based on Americans’ ratings of the national economy, the buying climate and their personal finances, improved to the highest level this year after climbing for the fourth straight week. The index was minus 33.4 in the previous week.
The index has been higher just five times since March 2008, when the economy was in a recession, according to Langer Research Associates, which compiles the index using telephone surveys.
“Rising residential real-estate values, combined with stock prices close to five-year highs, are speeding a rebound in household wealth that will help underpin spending,” Bloomberg’s Jeanna Smialek reported. “Nonetheless, the highest gasoline prices in four months and disagreement among lawmakers on how to close the federal budget deficit may check the recent gains in sentiment.”