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Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index reaches seven-year high

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According to Bloomberg, American consumer confidence reached a seven-year high last week as job gains and plunging fuel costs propelled the economy and boosted spirits in the midst of the holiday-shopping season.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to 41.3 in the period ended Dec. 7, its highest since December 2007, from 39.8 the week before. Measures on the economy and buying climate also climbed to the strongest levels in seven years.

The lowest gasoline prices since 2010 and the biggest job gains in more than a decade are giving consumers the means to boost spending.

The comfort gauge of attitudes about the buying climate increased to 37.3 last week, its best reading since August 2007, from 35.1, indicating households may feel more secure about shopping freely this gifting season. The reading for the state of the national economy rose to 31.8 from 29.7 the week before.

The Bloomberg measure of personal finances increased to 54.9, the second-strongest reading since April 2008, from 54.6 a week earlier.

Confidence firmed last week for five of seven income groups, today's report showed. The category for households earning $100,000 or more posted its highest reading since October 2007.

The sentiment measures among full-time workers, unemployed, homeowners, whites, and women were at the highest since 2007. Confidence among Democrats was its strongest since 2001.

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