U.S. Consumer confidence reaches 10-week high

Washington, D.C. -- A report released Thursday by Bloomberg said that consumer confidence reached its highest level in 10 weeks, thanks to falling gas prices and despite a 9.1% unemployment rate.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to minus 43.9 for the period ended June 26, after dropping to minus 44.9 the prior week. According to the report, falling fuel costs are reducing consumer stress.

“Falling retail gasoline prices, which should free up approximately $42 billion in discretionary income, likely bolstered the outlook of consumers,” said Joseph Brusuelas, senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.

Cheaper fuel “may provide needed support for consumer confidence at a time when sluggish demand in the labor market is clearly depressing overall sentiment,” he added.