Deep Divisions in Consumer Sentiment Run Beyond Party Lines

You may have heard that consumer confidence has surged since Donald Trump’s November election victory, and maybe even that it’s deeply divided along party lines. But the gaps in sentiment by income, employment and race are just as telling — and could help explain the recent tepid gains in household spending.

Since the election, the difference in sentiment between Americans earning more than $100,000 and those with incomes below $15,000 has reached its widest since the recession ended in 2009, according to data from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.

During the depths of the financial crisis, the gap between the two groups was as small as 11 points. In late February, it hit 56 points, as economists including Thomas Piketty find that income gains since the recession have concentrated among the wealthy. Put another way, the poorest Americans are less confident today than the wealthiest Americans were at the nadir of the recession.

Typically, consumer confidence and spending



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