US consumer confidence jumps to 7-year high
WASHINGTON - Consumer confidence has rebounded strongly this month, hitting a seven-year high as solid job gains raise expectations for economic growth.
The Conference Board says its confidence index climbed to 94.5, the strongest reading since October 2007 and the start of the Great Recession a few months later. This month's gains reverse a September decline.
Steady hiring and fewer layoffs over the past 12 months have pushed the unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent from as high as 7.2 percent at the beginning of the year. That's left more people optimistic about getting a raise. The Conference Board found 17.7 percent of consumers surveyed expect their incomes to improve, while the share of Americans expecting their income to drop fell to 11.6 percent.
The job gains and falling gasoline prices have helped to improve sentiment, despite muted economic growth in Europe and China that has fueled volatility in financial markets.
While consumer confidence has been trending higher, it still lags pre-recession highs.
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