Optimism about the direction of the U.S. economy improved to a three-month high in November as sentiment remained supported by a robust job market and steady growth, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed Thursday.
The monthly gauge of economic expectations increased to 53 in November from 47.5. The weekly comfort index rose to a 10-week high of 52.1 from 51.5. The weekly index of buying climate rose to 44.2, the highest since August, from 43.3. The weekly gauge of current views on the economy advanced to 52.1 from 51.9; with the personal finances measure increasing to 59.8 from 59.3
The report showed 35% of respondents saying that the economy is improving, while just 27% say it's deteriorating. Such a gap has only been wider five times since March 2002. Americans are enjoying solid job opportunities and stock market gains that have boosted wealth. Inflation has also remained relatively low, allowing consumers to maintain their purchasing power.
Confidence rose in the Northeast, South and West; it fell in the Midwest. Sentiment among men exceeded women by the widest margin in six weeks. The partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans widened to a 10-week high, favoring Republicans by 22.2 points.