In a sign of some hope for retailers, 30 percent of Americans said it was a good time to spend money, up 9 points since late October to the most since March 2008. Ratings of personal finance were also up, but views of the national economy pull confidence back down.
Overall, at -42 on its scale of +100 to -100, the report said the ABC News Consumer Comfort Index (CCI) is its best since May, up 5 points in two weeks, up 9 points from late October, and 12 points better than the all-time low it set last January. Even so, the CCI remains far below its long-term average, -12, and on track for its worst year on average in 24 years of weekly polls.
The index is based on views of the national economy, the buying climate, and personal finances. While the latter two have improved, ratings of the economy remain persistently negative: 7 percent say it's in good shape overall, 31 points below the long-term average, according to the report.
Half, by contrast, now say their own finances are in good shape, the most since May and up 7 points in five weeks. This measure is now just 7 points below average.
Ratings of the buying climate, similarly, are 7 points below average, and this is the first time they've reached 30 percent positive after a record 92-week stretch below that level.
The ABC News CCI also reported the following:
(Source: ABC News Internet Ventures)