US consumer comfort gauge posts biggest leap since 2009 as reopening charges on

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  • Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort Index gained to 47.8 last week from 45.1, notching its biggest increase in more than 11 years.
  • The gauge now sits 13.1 points from its March trough, but remains 19.5 points from its January highs.
  • Though reopenings have slowly driven the index higher, gauges for richer and poorer Americans have diverged. While comfort among households making more than $100,000 continues to climb after two weeks of improvements, comfort among those making less than $50,000 has held steady since July.
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US consumers are growing increasingly confident in the nation's economic backdrop as reopening continues, but significant progress is still needed before returning to pre-pandemic highs.

Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort Index jumped to 47.8 last week from 45.1, marking the gauge's biggest one-week gain in more than 11 years. The index now stands 13.1 points above its March low and 19.5 points from its January high.

The company's State of the Economy index gained to 37.7 from 34.6, while a gauge of consumer's personal finance climbed to 63.6 from 61.5. Bloomberg's Buying Climate index rose to 42 from 39.1.

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Still, the consumer comfort gauge's improvement pointed to a widening gap between recovery for wealthy Americans and lower-income communities. Gains for men and upper-income Americans led the headline index's jump.

The comfort measure for households making $100,000 or more has jumped more than 10 points in the past two weeks. A gauge tracking households making less than $50,000 has stayed relatively stagnant over the same period, according to Bloomberg.

The index's latest reading arrives as divides in the nation's economic rebound worsen. A survey of small business owners conducted by Goldman Sachs found that black business owners face a steeper road to recovery and have a greater need for fresh fiscal aid. In Congress, Democrats shut down Republicans' "skinny" stimulus bill on Thursday as the two parties remain hundreds of billions of dollars apart on their respective proposals.

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